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Full text of "The rainbow trail : a romance"

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ZANE GREY 

THE RAINBOW TRAIL. lUiMnud. I 
THE LONE BTAR RANGER Post Sv 
THE UGHT or WESTERN STARS 

DESERT GOLD. lUugUsted. Post 8to 
? THH PURPLE BAGE 
P«t Svo 



RIDERfi OF 



THE 

niiutntcd. 
THE YOUNG 
THE YOUNG 
THE YOUNG 

lUiutnted. 
KEN WARD 

lUustr. ' 



i OF 1 
Peat Svo 

FORESTER, niuatimted. Poat Svo 
PITCHER. Illuiitnled. Po« 8to 
LION-HUNTER 

IN THE JUNGLE 



HARPER A BROTHERS, NEW YORK ■ 



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THE 

RAINBOW TRAIL 



1 



'b^ A ROMANCE 



ZANE GREY 




HARPER a BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 
NEW YORK AND LONDON 




Z-' ■ ^A.5,.'. / -".J r'^-/, £2^/ V 



Ths RUHBOff Tkacl 

Copyriibt. T9IS, by Huper Sc BcoCbna 

Printed in the VxaOA Statu of America 

PuMWieil Augun, X9\i 



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CONTENTS 

Foreword ix 

I. Red Lake i 

II. The Sagi i8 

III. Kayenta 36 

IV. New Friends 52 

V. On the Trail 7J 

VI. In the Hidden Valley 90 

VII. Saoo-Lo-ies 109 

VIII. The Hogan of Nas Ta Beca 134 

IX. In the Desert Crdcible 155 

X. Stonebridge 159 

XI. After the Trial 182 

XII. The Revelation 202 

XIII. . The Story of Surprise Valley 225 

XIV. The Navajo .250 

XV. Wn-D Justice 259 

XVI. Surprise Valley a88 

XVII. The Trail to Nonnezoshe 306 

XVIII- At the Foot of the Rainbow 335 

XIX. The Grand CaSon of the Colorado .... 345 

XX. Willow Springs 366 

Epilogue 37^ 



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FOREWORD 

The spell 0} the desert comes back to me, as it always 
wiU come. I see the veils, like purple smoke, in the 
cations, and I feel the silence. And it seems that 
again I must try to pierce both and to get at the strange 
wHd life of the last American wildemess — wild still, 
almost, as it ever was. 

While this romance is an independent story, yet 
readers of "Riders of the Purple Sage" mill find in 
it an answer to a question often asked. 

I wish to say also that this story has appeared serially 
in a different form in one of the monthly magazines 
under the title of "The Desert Crucible." 

Zane Grey. 

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THE RAINBOW TRAIL 



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THE RAINBOW TRAIL 



KSD LAKE 

SKEFFORD halted his tired horse and gazed 
with slowly realizing eyes. 

A league-long slope of sage rolled and billowed 
down to Red Lake, a dry red basin, denuded and 
glistening, a hollow in the desert, a lonely and deso- 
late door to the vast, wild, and broken upland be- 
yond. 

All day SheSord had plodded onward with the 
dear horizon -line a thing unattainable; and for 
days before that he had ridden the wild bare flats 
and climbed the rodiy desert benches. The great 
colored reaches and steps had led endlessly onward 
and upward throu^ dim and deceiving distance. 

A himdred miles of desert travel, with its mistakes 
and lessons and intimations, had not prepared htm 
for what he now saw. He beheld what seemed a 
world that knew only magnitude. Wonder and 
awe fixed his gaze, and thought remained aloof. 
Tlien that dark and tmknown northland flung a 
menace at him. An irresistible call had drawn 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

him to this seamed and peated border of Arizona, 
this broken battlemented wilderness of Utah up- 
land; and at first sight they frowned upon him, as 
if to warn him not to search for what lay hidden 
beyond the ranges. But SheSord thrilled with both 
fear and exultation. That was the country which 
had been described to him. Far across the red 
valley, far beyond the ragged line o£ black mesa and 
yellow range, lay the wild canon with its haimting 
secret. 

Red Lake must be his Rubicon. Either he must 
enter the unknown to seek, to strive, to find, or 
turn back and fail and never know and be always 
haunted. A friend's strange story had prompted 
his singular journey; a beautiftd rainbow with its 
mystery and promise had decided him. Once in 
his life he had answered a wild call to the kingdom 
of adventtire within him, and once in his life he 
had been happy. But here in the horizon-wide 
face of that up-flung and cloven desert he grew cold; 
he faltered even while he felt more fatally drawn. 

As if impelled Shefford started his horse down 
the sandy trail, but he checked his former far-reach- 
ing gaze. It was the month of April, and the waning 
sun lost heat and brightness. Long shadows crept 
down the slope ahead of him and the scant sage 
deepened its gray. He watched the lizards shoot 
like brown streaks across the sand, leaving their 
slender tracks; he heard the rustle of pack-rats as 
they darted into their brushy homes; the whir of 
a low-sailing hawk startled his horse. 

Like ocean waves the slope rose and fell, its hol- 
lows choked with sand, its ridge -tops showing 



RED LAKE 

scantier growth of sage and grass and weed. The 
last ridge was a sand-dtine, beautifully ribbed and 
scalloped and lined by the wind, and from its knife- 
sharp crest a thin wavering sheet of sand blew, 
almost like smoke. Shefford wondered why the' 
sand looked red at a distance, for here it seemed 
almost white. It rippled everywhere, clean and 
glistening, always leading down. 

Suddenly Shefford became aware of a house 
looming out of the bareness of the slope. It dom- 
inated that long white incline. Grim, lonely, for- 
bidding, how strangely it harmonized with the sur- 
roundings! The structure was octagon - shaped, 
built of uncut stone, and resembled a fort. There 
was no door on tJie sides exposed to ShefiEord's gaze, 
but small apertures two-thirds the way up prob- 
ably served as windows and port-holes. The roof 
appeared to be made of poles covered with red earth. 

Like a huge cold rock on a wide plain this house 
stood there on the windy slope. It was an outpost 
of the trader Presbrey, of whom Shefford had heard 
at Flagstaff and Tuba. No Uving thing appeared- 
in the limit of Sh^ord's vision. He gazed shudder- 
ingly at the unwelcoming habitation, at the dark 
eyelike windows, at the sweep of barren slope merg- 
ing into the vast red valley, at the bold, bleak bluffs. 
Could any one live here? The nature of that 
anister viUey forbade a home there, and the spirit 
of the place hovered in the silence and space. Shef- 
ford thought irresistibly of how his enemies would 
have consigned him to just such a hell. He thought 
bitterly and mockingly of the narrow congregation 
that had proved him a failure in the ministry, that 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

had repudiated his ideas of religion and immortality 
and God, that had driven him, at the age of twenty- 
four, from the calling forced upon him by his people. 
As a boy he had yearned to make himself an artist; 
his family had made him a clergyman; fate had 
made him a failure. A failure only so far in his life, 
something urged him to add — ^for in the lonely days 
and ^ent nights of the desert he had experienced 
a strange birth of hope. Adventure had called him, 
but it was a vague and spiritual hope, a dream of 
promise, a nameless attainment that fortified his 
wilder impulse. 

As he rode around a comer of the stone house his 
horse snorted and stopped. A lean, shaggy pony 
jumped at sight of him, almost displacing a red 
long-haired blanket that covered an Indian saddle. 
Quick thuds of hoofs in sand drew Shefford's atten- 
tion to a corral made of peeled poles, and here he 
saw another pony. 

Shefford heard subdued voices. He dismounted 
and walked to an open door. In the dark interior 
he dimly desoied a high counter, a stairway, a pile 
of bags of flour, blankets, and silver-ornamented 
objects, but the persons he had heard were not in 
that part of the house. Around another comer of 
the octagon-shaped wall he found anoth^ open 
door, and through it saw goat-skins and a moimd of 
dirty sheep-wool, black and brown and white. It 
was light in this part of the building. When he 
crossed the threshold he was astounded to see a man 
struggling with a girl — an Indian girl. She was 
straining back from him, panting, and uttering low 
guttural sounds. The man's face was corded and 



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RED LAKE 

dark with passion. This scene affected SheSord 
strangely. Primitive emotions' were new to him. 

Before ShefEord could speak the gir! broke loose 
and turned to flee. She was an Indian and this 
place was the tincivilized desert, but SheSord knew 
terror when he saw it. Like a dog the man rushed 
after her. It was instinct that made SheSord strike, 
and his blow laid the man fiat. He lay stunned a 
moment, then raised himself to a sitting posture, his 
hand to his face, and the gaze he fixed upon SheSord 
seemed to combine astonishment and rage. 

"I hope you're not Presbrey," said Shefford, 
slowly. He felt awkward, not sure of himself. 

The man appeared about to burst into speech, but 
repressed it. There was blood on his mouth and 
his hand. Hastily he scrambled to his feet. Shef- 
ford saw this man's amaze and rage change to 
shame. He was tall and rather stout; he had a 
smooth tanned face, soft of outline, with a weak 
chin; his eyes were dark. The look of him and his 
ajrduroys and his soft shoes gave Shefford an itn- 
presaon that he was not a man who worked hard. 
By contrast with the few other worn and rugged 
desert men Shefiord had met this stranger stood 
out strikingly. He stooped to pick up a soft felt 
hat and, jamming it on his head, he hurried out. 
Sh^ord followed him and watched him from the 
door. He went directly to the corral, mounted the 
pony, and rode out, to turn down the slope toward 
the south. When he reached the level of the basin, 
where evidently the sand was hard, he put the pony 
to a lope and gradtmlly drew away. 

"Well!" ejaculated Shefford. He did not know 
5 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

what to make of this adventure. Presently he be- 
came aware that the Indian girl was sitting on a roll 
of blankets near the wall. With curious interest 
She£Eord studied her appearance. She had long, 
raven-black hair, tangled and disheveled, and she 
wore a soiled white band of cwd above her brow. 
The color of her face struck him; it was dark, but 
not red nor bronzed; it almost had a tinge of gold. 
Her profile was clear-cut, bold, almost stem. Long 
black eyelashes hid her eyes. She wore a tight- 
fitting waist garment of material resembling vel- 
veteen. It was ripped along her side, exposing a 
skin still more richly gold than that of her face. A 
string of silver ornaments and turquoise-and-white 
beads endrded her nedc, and it moved gently up 
and down with the heaving of her full bosom. Her 
skirt was some gaudy print goods, torn and stained 
and dusty. She had little feet, incased in brown 
moccasins, fitting like gloves and buttoning over the 
auldes with silver coins. 

!'Who was that man? Did he hurt you?" in- 
quired Shefford, turning to gaze down the valley 
where a moving black object showed on the bare 
sand. 

"No savvy," replied the Indian girl. 

"Where's the trader Presbrey?" asked Shefford. 

Kifi p<Mnted straight down into the red valley. 

"Toh," she said. 

In the cent«: of the basin lay a small pool of 
water shining bristly in the sunset glow. Small 
objects moved around it, so small that SheSord 
thought he saw several dogs led by a child. But it 
was the distance that deceived him. Th^re was a 



RED LAKE 

man down there watering his horses. That re- 
minded Shefford of the duty owing to his own tired 
and thirsty beast. Whereupon he untied his pack, 
took ofE the sEiddle, and was about ready to start 
down when the Indian girl grasped the bridle from 
his hand. 

"Me go," she said. 

He saw her eyes then, and th^ made her look 
different. They were as black as her hair. He was 
puzzled to decide whether or not he thoi^jht her 
handsome. 

"Thanks, but I'll go," he replied, and, taking 
the bridle again, he started down the slope. At 
every step he sank into the deep, soft sand. Down 
a little way he came upon a pile of tin cans; they 
were everywhere, buried, half buried, and lJ^ng 
loose; and these gave evidence of how the trader 
lived. Presently Shefford discovered that the Indian 
girl was following him with her own pony. Looking 
upward at her against the light, he thought her 
slender, lithe, picturesque. At a distance he liked her. 

He plodded on, at length glad to get out of the 
drifts ctf sand to the hard level floor of the valley. 
This, too, was sand, but dried and baked hard, and 
red in color. At some season of the year this im- 
mense flat must be covered with water. How wide it 
was, and empty! Shefford e3q>erienced again a 
feeling that had been novel to him — and it was that 
he was loose, free, unanchored, ready to veer with 
the wind. From the foot of the slope the water- 
hole had appeared to be a few hundred rods out 
in the valley. But the small size of the figures 
made Shefford doubt; and h€ had to travel many 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

times a few hundred rods before those figures began 
to grow. Then SheSord made out that they were 
approaching him. 

Thereafter they rapidly increased to normal 
proportions of man and beast. When SheSord met 
them he saw a powerful, heavily built young man 
leading two ponies. 

"You're Mr. Presbrey, the trader?" inquired 
ShefEord. 

"Yes, I'm Presbr^, without the Mister," he 
replied. 

"My name's SheSord. I'm knocking about on 
the desert. Rode from beycmd Tuba to-day." 

"Glad to see you," said Presbrey. He oSered his 
hand. He was a stalwart man, clad in gray shirt, 
overalls, and boots. A shodc of tumbled Ught hair 
covered his massive head; he was tamied, but not 
darkly, and there was red in his cheeks; under his 
sha.ggy ejrebrows were deep, keen eyes; his lips were 
hard and set, as if occaaon for smiles or words was 
rare; and his big, strong jaw seemed locked. 

"Wish more travelers came knocking around 
Red Lake," he added. "Reckon here's the jumping- 
oS place." 

"It's pretty — ^lonesome," said SheSord, hesitating 
as if at a loss for words. 

Then the Indian girl came up. Presbrey ad- 
dressed her in her own language, which SheSord 
did not understand. She seemed shy and would 
not answer; she stood with downcast face and eyes. 
Presbrey spoke again, at which she pointed down 
the valley, and tiien moved on with her pony toward 
the water-hole. 

S 



RED LAKE 

Presbrey's keen eyes fixed on the receding black 
dot far down that oval expanse. 

"That fellow left — rather abruptly," said Shef- 
ford, constrainedly. "Who was he?" 

"His name's Willetts. He's a missionary. He 
rode in to-day with this Navajo girl. He was taking 
her to Blue Cafion, where he Uves and teaches the 
Indians. I've met him only a few times. You 
see, not many white men ride in here. He's the first 
white man I've seen in six m(mths, and you're the 
second. Both the same day! . . . Red Lake's getting 
popular! It's queer, though, his leaving. He ex- 
pected to stay all night. There's no other place 
to stay. Blue Cailon is fifty miles away." 

"I'm sorry to say — no, I'm not sorry, either — ^but 
I must tell you I was the cause of Mr. Willetts leav- 
ing," repUed Shefford. 

"How so?" inquired the other. 

Then Shefiford related the incident following his 
arrival. 

"Perhaps my action was hasty," he concluded, 
apologetically. "I didn't think. Indeed, I'm sur- 
prised at myself." 

Presbrey made no comment and his face was as 
hard to read as one of the distant bluffs. 

"But what did the man mean?" asked Shefford, 
conscious of a little heat. "I'm a stranger out here. 
I'm ignorant of Indians — how they're controlled. 
Still I'm no fool. ... If Willetts didn't mean evil, 
at least he was brutal." 

"He was teaching her religion," replied Presbrey. 
His tone hdd faint scorn and implied a joke, but Us 
face did not change in the sUghtest. 



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THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Without understanding just why, Shefford felt 
his conviction justififed and his action approved. 
Then he was sensible of a slight shock of wonder and 
disgust. 

"I am — I was a minister of the Gospel," he said to 
Presbrey. "What you hint seems impossible. I 
can't beheve it," 

"I didn't hint," replied Presbrey, bluntly, and it 
was evident that he was a siacere, but dose-mouthed, 
man. "Shefford, so you're a preacher? . . . Did you 
come out here to try to convert the Indians?" 

"No. I said I was a minister. I am no longer. 
I'm just a — a wanderer." 

"I see. Well, the desert's no place for mission- 
aries, but it's good for wanderers. ... Go water your 
horse and take him up to the corral. You'll find 
some hay for him. I'll get grub ready." 

Sh^ord went on with his horse to the pool. 
The water appeared thick, green, murky, and there 
was a line of salty crust extending arormd the 
margin of the pool. Tb& thirsty horse splashed in 
and eagerly bent his head. But he did not like the 
taste. Many times he refused to drink, yet always 
lowered his nose again. Finally he drank, thot^ 
not his filL Shefford saw the Indian girl drink 
from her hand. He scooped up a handful and fotmd 
it too sour to swallow. When he turned to re- 
trace his steps she mounted her pony and followed 
him. 

A golden flare lit up the western sky, and sil- 
houetted dark and lonely against it stood the trad- 
ing-post. Upon his return Shefford fotmd the wind 
rising, and it chilled him. When he reached the 



RED LAKE 

slope, thin gray sheets of sand were blowing lov, 
ri^ng, whipping, falling, sweeping alcoig with soft 
silken rustle. Sometimes the gray veils hid his 
boots. It was a long, toilsome climb up that yield- 
ing, dragging ascent, and he had already been lame 
and tired. By the time he had put his horse away 
twilight was everywhere except in the west. The 
India n girl left her pony in tiie corral and came like 
a shadow toward the house. 

Shefford had difficulty in finding the foot <^ the 
stairway. He climbed to enter a lat^ loft, lighted 
by two lamps. Presbrey was there, kneading bis- 
cuit dough in a pan. 

"Make yourself comfortable," he said. 

Tlie huge Ic^t was the shape of a half-octagcoi. A 
door opened upon the valley side, and here, too, 
there were windows. How attractive the place was 
in cmnparison with the impresaons gained from the 
outside! The furnishings ccmsisted of Indian blan- 
kets on the floor, two beds, a desk and table, several 
chairs and a couch, a gun-rack full of rifles, innumer- 
able silver-ornamented belts, bridles, and other 
Indian articles upon the walls, and in one comer a 
wood-burning stove with teakettle steaming, and 
a great cupboard with shelves packed full of camied 
foods. 

Shefford leaned ia the doorway and looked out. 
Beneath him on a roll of blankets sat the Indian 
girl, silent and motionless. He wondered what was 
in her mind, what she would do, how the trader 
would treat her. The slope now was a long slant 
of sheeted moving shadows of sand. Dusk had 
gathered in the valley. The bluffs loomed black 



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THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

b^tmd. A pale star twinkled above. SheSord 
suddenly became aware of the intense nature of the 
stillness about him. Yet, as he listened to this 
silence, he heard an intermittent and immeasurably 
low moan, a fitful, mournful murmur. Assuredly 
it was only the wind. Nevertheless, it made h^ 
blood run cold. It was a diflEerent wind from that 
which had made music under the eaves of his 
minois home. This was a lonely, haunting wind, 
with desert htmger in it, and more which he could 
not name. Sh^ord listened to this spirit-brooding 
sound while he watched night envelop the valley. 
How black, how thick the mantle! Yet it brought 
no comforting sense of close-folded protection, of 
walls of soft sleep, of a home. Instead there was the 
feeling of space, of emptiness, of an infinite hall 
down which a mournful wind swept streams of 
murmuring sand. 

"Well, grub's about ready," said Presbrey. 

"Got any water?" asked Shefford. 

"Sure. There in the bucket. It's rain-water. 
I have a tank here." 

Shefford's sore and blistered face felt better after 
he had washed oS the sand and alkali dust. 

"Better not wash your face often while you're 
in the desert. Bad plan," went on Presbrey, noting 
how gingerly his visitor had gone about his ablutions. 
"Well, come and eat." 

Shefford marked that if the trader did live a 
lonely life he fared well. There was more on the 
table than twice two men could have eaten. It 
was the first time in four days that Shefford had 
sat at a table, and he made up for lost opportunity. 



,0>([C 



RED LAKE 

His host's actions indicated pleasure, yet the strange, 
hard face never relaxed, never changed. When the 
meal was finished Presbrey declined asastance, had 
a generous thought of the Indian girl, who, he said, 
could have a place to eat and ^eep down-stairs, 
and then with the skill and despatch of an accom- 
pU^ed housewife cleared the table, after which work 
he filled a pipe and evidently prepared to Usten. 

It took only one question for SheSord to find that 
the trader was starved for news of the outside 
world; and for an hour SheSord fed that appetite, 
even as he had been done by. But when he had 
talked himself out there seemed indication of Pres- 
brey being more than a good listener. 

"How'd you come in?" he asked, presently. 

"By Flagstaff — across the Little Colorado — and 
through Moencopie." 

"Did you stop at Moen Ave?" 

"No. What place is that?" 

"A missionary lives there. Did you stop at Tuba?" 

"Only long enough to drink and water my horse. 
That was a wonderful Spring for the desert." 

"You said you were a wanderer. ... Do you 
want a job? I'll give you one." 

"No, thank you, Presbrey." 

"I saw your pack. That's no pack to travel with 
in this country. Your horse won't last, either. 
Have you any money?" 

"Yes, plenty of money." 

"Well, that's good; Not that a white man out 
here would ever talre a dollar from^you. But you 
can buy from the Indians as you go. Where are 
you making for, anyhow?" 



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THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

SheSord hesitated, debating in mind whether to 
tell his purpose or not. His host did not press the 
question. 

"I see. Just foot-loose and wandering around," 
went on Presbrey. "I can understand how the 
desert appeals to you. Preachers lead easy, safe, 
crowded, bound lives. They're shut up in a church 
with a Bible and good people. When once in a life- 
time they get loose — they break out." 

"Yes, I've broken out — beyond all bounds," re- 
plied Shefford, sadly. He seemed retrospective for 
a moment, unaware of the trader's keen and sym- 
pathetic glance, and then he cau^t himself. *'I 
want to see some wild life. Do you know tbs coun- 
try north of here?" 

"Only what the Navajos tell me. And they're 
not much to talk. There's a trail goes north, but 
I've never traveled it. It's a new trail every time 
an Indian goes that way, for here the sand blows and 
covers old tracks. But few Navajos ride in trom 
the north. My trade is mostly with Indians up and 
down the valley." 

"How about water and grass?" 

"We've had rain and snow. There's sure to be 
water. Can't say about grass, though the sheep 
and ponies from the north are always fat. . , . But, 
say, Shefford, if you'll excuse me for advising you — 
don't go north." 

"Why?" aslffid Shefford, and it was certain that 
he thrilled. 

"It's unknown country, terribly broken, as you 

can see from here, and Hxere are bad Indians hiding 

in the cafions. I've never met a man who had be^i 

14 

...., A-.oogIc 



RED LAKE 

over &e pass between here and Kayenta. The 
trip's been made, so there must be a trail. But it's 
a dangerous trip for any man, let alone a tender- 
foot. You're not even packing a gun." 

"What's this place Kayenta?" asked Shefford. 

' ' It's a spring. Kayenta means Bottomless Spring. 
There's a little trading-post, the last and the ^dest 
in northern Arizona. Withers, the trader who 
keeps it, hauls his supplies in from Colorado and 
New Mexico. He's never ccane down this way. I 
never saw him. Know nothing of him except hear- 
say. Reckon he's a nervy and strong man to hold 
that post. K you want to go there, better go by 
way of Keams Cafion, and then around the foot of 
Black Mesa. It '11 be a Icmg ride — maybe two 
hundred miles." 

"How far straight north over the pass?" 

"Can't say. Upward of seventy-five miles over 
rough trails, if there are trails at all. . . . I've heard 
rum<n^ of a fine tribe of Navajos living in there, rich 
in sheep and horses. It may be true and it may 
not. But I do know there are bad Indians, half- 
breeds and outcasts, hiding in there. £<»ne of them 
have visited me here. Bad customers! More than 
that, you'll be going close to the Utah line, and the 
Mormons over there are unfriendly these days." 

"Why?" queried Shefiord, again with that curious 
thrill. 

"They are being persecuted by the government." 

SheSord asked no more questicms and his host 

vouchsafed no more information on that score. 

Hie conversation lagged. Then SheflEord inquired 

about tlte Indian girl and learned that she lived up 

IS 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

the valley somewhere, Presbrey had never seen 
her before Willetts came with her to Red Lake. 
And this query brou^t out the fact that Presbrey 
was comparatively new to Red Lake and vidnity. 
SheSord wondered why a lonely six months there 
had not made the trader old in experience. Prob- 
ably the desert did not readily give up its secrets. 
Moreover, this Red Lake house was cmly an occa- 
sionally used branch of Presbrey's main tradii^- 
post, which was situated at 'WHllow Springs, fifty 
miles westward over the mesa. 

"I'm closing up here soon for a spell," said 
Presbrey, and now bis face lost its set hardness 
and seemed singularly changed. It was a difference 
of hght and softness. "Won't be so lonesome over 
at Willow Springs. . . . I'm being married soon." 

"That's fine," replied Sheffcaxl, warmly. He was 
glad for the sake of this lonely desert man. What 
good a wife would bring into a trader's lifel 

Presbrey's naive admisaon, however, appeared 
to detach him from his present surroundings, and 
with his massive head enveloped by a cloud of 
smoke he lived in dreams. 

Shefford respected his host's serene abstraction. 
Indeed, he was gratrful for silence. Not for many 
nights had the past impinged so closely upon the 
present. The wotmd in his soul had not healed, 
and to speak of himself made it bleed anew. Mem- 
ory was too pcngnant; the past was too close; he 
wanted to forget until he had toiled into the heart 
of this forbidding wilderness — until time had gone 
by and he dared to face his unquiet soul. Then he 
listened to the steadily rising roar of the wind. How 
i6 



RED LAKE 

strange and hollow! That wind was freighted with 
heavy sand, and he heard it sweep, sweep, sweep by 
in gusts, and then blow with dull, steady blast against 
the walls. The sound was provocative of thoi^ht. 
This moan and rush erf wind was no dream — this 
presence of his in a night-enshrouded and sand- 
besieged house of the lonely desert was a reality — 
lius adventure was not one of fancy. True indeed, 
then, must be the wild, strange story that had led 
hi m hither. He was going on to seek, to strive, to 
find. Somewhere northward in the broken fast- 
nesses lay hidden a valley walled in from the world. 
Would they be there, those lost fugitives whose 
story had thrilled him? After twelve years would 
she be alive, a child grown to womanhood in the 
soUtude of a beautiful canon? Incredible! Yet he 
believed his friend's story and he indeed knew how 
strange and tragic life was. He fancied he heard 
her voice on the sweeping wind. She called to him, 
haunted him. He admitted the improbability of her 
existence, but lost nothing <^ the persistent in- 
tangible hope that drove him. He beUeved himself 
a man stricken in soul, unworthy, through doubt of 
God, to minister to the people who ha4 banished 
him. Perhaps a labor of Hercules, a mighty and 
perilous work of rescue, the saving of this lost and 
imprisoned girl, would help him in his trouble. She 
might be his salvation. Who could tell ? Always as 
a boy and as a man he had fared forth to find the 
treasure at the foot of the rainbow. 



bf Google 



N^ 



TEXT mommg the Indian girl was gone and the 

I tracks of her pony led north,. Shefford's first 
thought was to wtmder if he would overtake her on 
the trail; and this surprised him with the' proof of 
how unconsciously his resolve to go on had formed. 

Presbrey made no further attempt to turn Shef- 
ford back. But he insisted on replenishing the pack, 
and Uiat SheSord take weapons. Finally ShefEord 
was persuaded to accept a revolver. The trader 
bade him good-by and stood in the door while 
SheflEord led his horse down the slope toward the 
water-hole. Perhaps the trader believed he was 
watching the departure of a man who would never 
return. He was still standing at the door of the 
post when Shefford halted at the pool. 

Upon the level floor of the valley lay thin patches 
of snow which had fallen during the night. The air 
was biting cold, yet stimulated ShefiEord while it 
stung him. His horse drank rather slowly and dis- 
gustedly. Then Shefford mounted and reluctantly 
turned his back upon the trading-post. 

As he rode away from the pool he saw a large 
flock of sheep approaching. They were very closely. 



THE SAGI 

even daisely, packed, in a solid slow-moving mass, 
and coming with a precision almost like a march. 
This fact stirprised ShrfEord, for there was not an 
Indian in sight. Presently he saw that a dog was 
leading the flock, and a little later he disasvered 
another dog in the rear of the sheep. They were 
splendid, long-haired dogs, of a wild-looking shepherd 
breed. He halted his horse to watch the procession 
pass by. The flock covered fully an acre of ground 
and the sheep were black, white, and brown. They 
passed him, making a little pattering roar on the 
hard-caked sand. The dogs were taldng the sheep 
in to water. 

Sheflord went on and was drawing close to the 
other side of the basin, where the flat red level was 
broken by rising dunes and ridges, when he espied 
a bunch of ponies. A shrill whistle told him that 
they had seen him. They were wild, shaggy, with 
long manes and tails. They stopped, threw up 
their heads, and watched him. Shefiord certainly 
returned the attention. There was no Indian with 
them. Presently, with a snort, the leader, which 
appeared to be a stallion, trotted behind the others, 
seemed to be driving them, and went dear round the 
band to get in the lead again. He was taking 
them in to water, the same as the dogs had taken 
the sheep. 

Hiese incidents were new and pleasing to Shef- 
ford. How ignorant he had been of life in the 
wilderness! Once more he received subtle intima- , 
tions of what he might learn out in the open; and 
it was with a less weighted heart that he faced the 
gateway between the huge yellow bluffs on his left 
19 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

and the slow rise of ground to the black mesa on h^ 
right. He looked back in time to see the trading- 
post, bleak and lonely on the bare slope, pass out o£ 
aght behind the bliiffs. Shefford felt no fear — ^he 
really had little experience of physical fear — ^but it 
was certain that he gritted his t«th and welcomed 
whatever was to come to him. He had lived a 
narrow, insulated life with his mind on spiritual 
things; his family and his congregaticm and his 
friends — except that one new friend whose story 
had enthralled him — ^were people of quiet religious 
habit; the man deep down in him had never had a 
chance. He breathed hard as he tried to imagine 
the world opening to him, and almost dared to be 
glad for the doubt that had sent him adrift. 

The tracks of the Indian girl's pony were plain 
in the sand. Also there were other tracks, not so 
plain, and these SheSord decided had been made 
by Willetts and the girl the day before. He climbed 
a ridge, half soft sand and half hard, and saw right 
before him, rising in striking fOTm, two great yellow 
buttes, like elephant legs. He rode between them, 
amazed at their height. Then before him stretched 
a slowly ascending valley, walled on one side by tlie 
black mesa and on the other by low bluffs. For 
miles a dark-green growth of greasewood covered 
the valley, and Shefford could see where the green 
thinned and failed, to give place to sand. He 
trotted his horse and made good time on this 
stretch. 

The day contrasted greatly with any he had yet 
experienced. Gray clouds obscured the walls of rock 
a few miles to the west, and SheScn^ saw squalls of 



THE SAGI 

saow like huge veils dropping down and spreading 
out. The wind cut with the keenness of a knife. 
Soon he was chilled to the bone. A squall swooped 
and roared down upon him, and the wind that bore 
the driving white pdlets of snow, almost like hail, 
was so freezing bitter cold that the former wind 
seemed warm in comparison. The squaJl passed as 
swiftly as it had come, and it left SheSord so be- 
numbed he could not hold the bridle. He tumbled 
oS his horse and walked. By and by tiie sun came 
out and soon wanned him and melted the thin layer 
of snow on the sand. He was still on the trail of the 
Indian girl, but hers were now the only tracks he 
could see. 

All morning he gradually climbed, with limited 
view, until at last he mounted to a point where the 
comitry lay open to his sight on all sides except 
where the endless black mesa ranged on into the 
north. A rugged yellow peak dominated tiie land- 
scape to the fore, but it was far away. Red and 
ragged country extended westward to a huge flat- 
topped wall <k gray rock. Lowering swift clouds 
swept across the sky, like drooping mantles, and 
they darkened the sun. Shefiord built a little fire 
out of dead greasewood sticks, and with his blanket 
round his shoulders he hung over the blaze, scorching 
his clothes and h ands. He had been cold before in 
his life, but he had never before appreciated fire. 
This desert blast pierced him. The squall enveloped 
him, thicker and colder and windier than the other, 
but, being better fortified, he did not suffer so much. 
It howled away, hiding the mesa and leaving a 
idiite desert bdiJnd. Shefford walked on, leading 



..Cooglc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

his horse, iintil the exercise and the sun had once 
more wanned him. 

This last squall had rendered the Indian girl's 
trail difficult to follow. The snow did not quickly 
melt, and, beades, sheep trades and the trades of 
horses gave him trouble, until at last he was com- 
pelled to admit that he could not follow her any 
longer. A faint path ot trail led north, however, and, 
fdlowing that, he soon forgot the girl. Every sur- 
mounted ridge held a surprise for him. The desert 
seemed never to change in tlie vast whole that en- 
compassed him, yet near hJrn it was always changing. 
From Red Lake he had seen a peaked, walled, and 
cafioned country, as rough as a stormy sea; but 
when he rode into that country the sharp and 
broken features hdd to the distance. 

He was glad to get out of the sand. Long narrow 
flats, gray with grass and dotted with patches of 
greasewood, and lined by low bare ridges of ydlow 
rode, stretdied away frwn him, leading toward the 
yellow peat that seemed never to be gained upon. 

ShefiEord had pictures in his mind, pictures of 
stone walls and wild valleys and domed buttes, all 
of which had been painted in colorful and vivid 
words by his friend Venters. He believed he would 
recognize the distinctive and remarkable land- 
marks Voiters had portrayed, and he was certain 
that he had not yet come upon cme of them. This 
was his second lonely day of travd and he had 
grown more and more susceptible to the influence 
of horizon and the different prominent points. He 
attributed a gradual change in his feelings to the 
loneliness and the increasing wildness. Between 



X.oo^k 



THE SAGI 

Tuba and Flagstafi he had met Indians and an oc- 
casional prospector and teamster. Here he was 
alone, and though he felt some strange gladness, 
he could not help but see the difFerence. 

He rode on dining the gray, lowering, chilly day, 
and toward evening the clouds broke in the west, 
and a setting sun shone through the rift, burnishing 
the desert to red and gold. Shefford's instinctive but 
deadened love of the beautiful in nature stirred into 
life, and the moment of its rebirth was a melancholy 
and sweet one. Too late for the artist's work, but 
not too late for his soul! 

For a place to make camp he halted near a low 
area of rock that lay Uke an island in a sea of grass. 
There was an abundance of dead greasewood for a 
camp-fire, and, after searching over the rock, he 
found little pools of melted snow in the depressions. 
He took oS the saddle and pack, watered his horse, 
and, hobbling him as well as his inexperience per- 
mitted, he turned him loose on the grass. 

Then while he built a fire and prepared a meal 
the night came down upon him. In the lee of the 
rock he was well sheltered from the wind, but the 
air was bitter cold. He gathered all the dead 
greasewood in the vicinity, replenished the fire, and 
rolled in his blanket, back to the blaze. The loneli- 
ness and the coyotes did not bother him this night. 
He was too tired and cold. He w:ent to sleep at 
once and did not awaken until the fire died out. 
Then he rebuilt it and wait to sle^ ^ain. Every 
half-hour all night long he repeated this, and was 
glad indeed when the dawn broke. 

The day began with misfortune. His horse was 
3 »3 



,o.^[c 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

gone; it had been stolen, or had wortfid out of sight, 
(H- had broken the hobbles and made off. From a I 
hi^ stone ridge SheSord searched the grassy flats . 
and slopes, all to no purpose. Then he tried to 
track the horse, but this was equally futile. He had 
expected disasters, and the first one did not daunt i 
him. He tied most of his pack in the blanket, threw ' 
the canteen across his shoulder, and set forth, sure 
at least of one thing — that he was a very much better 
traveler on foot than on horseback. 

Walking did not affcmi him the leisure to study 
the surrounding country; however, from time to 
time, when he surmounted a bench he scanned the 
different landmarks that had grown familiar. It 
took hours of steady walking to reach and pass the 
yellow peak that had been a kind of goal. He saw 
many sheep trails and horse tracks in the vicinity 
of tlus moimtain, and once he was sure he espied an | 
Indian watching him from a bold ridge-top. i 

The day was tmght and warm, with air so clear I 
it magnified objects he knew to be far away. The . 
ascent was gradual; there were many narrow ' 
flats connected by steps; and the grass grew thidcer l 
and longer. At noon Sh^ord halted imder the first , 
cedar-tree, a lonely, dwarfed shrub that seemed to 
have had a hard life. From this poiat the rise of I 
ground was more perceptible, and stn^^ling cedars , 
led the eye on to a purple slope that merged into 
green of pificm and pine. Could that purple be the 
s^e Vaiters had so feelingly described, or was it 
merely the purple of deceiving distance? What- 
ever it m^t be, it gave SheSord a thrill and made j 
him think of the strange, shy, and lovely woman 

.4 ^ 



THE SAGI 

Venters had won out here in this purple -sage 
country. 

He calculated that he had ridden thirty miles the 
day before and had already traveled ten miles to- 
day, and therefore could hope to be in the pass 
before night. ShefEord resumed his journey with 
too much energy and enthusiasm to think of being 
tired. And he discovered presently that the strag- 
gling cedars and the slope beyond were mucil 
closer than he had judged them to be. He reached 
the sage to find it gray instead of purple. Yet it 
was always purple a little way ahead, and if he half 
shut his eyes it was purple near at hand. He was 
surprised to find that he could not breathe freely, or 
it seemed so, and soon made the discovery that the 
sweet, pungent, penetrating fragrance of sage and 
cedar had this strange effect upon him. This was 
an exceedingly dry and odorous forest, where every 
open space between the clumps of cedars was choked 
with luxuriant sage. The pinons were higher up 
on the mesa, and the pines still higher. Shefford 
appeared to lose himself. There were no trails ; the 
black mesa on the right and the wall of stone on the 
left could not be seen; but he pushed on with what 
was dther singular confidence or rash impulse. And 
he did not know whether that slope was long or short. 

Once at the summit he saw with surprise that it 
broke abruptly and the descent was very steep and 
short on that side. Through the trees he once more 
saw the black mesa, rising to the dignity of a moun- 
tain; and he had glimpses of another flat, narrow 
valley, this time with a red wall running parallel 
with tJie mesa. He could not help but hurry down 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

to get an unobstructed view. His eagerness was 
rewarded by a splendid scene, yet to his regret he 
could not force himself to believe it had any relation 
to the pictured scenes in his mind. The valley was 
half a mile wide, perhaps several miles long, and it 
extended in a curve between the cedar-sloped mesa 
and a looming wall of red stone. There was not a 
bird or a beast in sight. He found a well-defined 
trail, but it had not been recently used. He passed 
a low structure made of peeled logs and mud, with 
a dark opening like a door. It did not take him 
many minutes to learn that the valley was longer 
than he had calculated. He walked swiftly and 
steadily, in'^spite of the fact that the pack had be- 
come burdensome. What lay beyond the jutting 
comer of the mesa had increasing fascination for him 
and acted as a spur. At last he turned the comer, 
only to be disappointed at sight of another cedar 
slope. He had a glimpse of a single black shaft of 
rock rising far in the distance, and it disappeared 
as his striding forward made the crest of the dope 
rise toward the sky. 

Again his view became restricted, and he lost 
the sense of a slow and gradual uplift of rock and 
an increase in the scale of proportion. Half-way up 
this ascent he was compelled to rest; and again the 
sun was slanting low when he entered the cedar 
forest. Soon he was descending, and he suddenly 
came into the open to face a scene that made his 
heart beat thick and fast. 

He saw lofty crags and cathedral spires, and a 
wonderful cafion winding between huge beetling 
red walls. He heard the murmur of flowing water. 



THE SAGI 

The trail led down to the caflon floor, which appeared 
to be levd and green and cut by deep washes in 
red earth. Could this cafion be the mouth of 
Deception Pass? It bore no resemblance to any 
place Shefford had heard described, yet somehow 
he felt rather than saw that it was the portal to the 
wild fastness he had traveled so far to enter. 

Not till he had descended the trail and had 
dropped his pack did he reeilize how weary and foot- 
sore he was. Then he rested. But his eyes roved 
to and fro, and his mind was active. What a wild 
and lonesome spot I The low murmur of, shallow 
water came up to him from a deep, narrow cleft. 
Shadows were aheady making the canon seem full 
of blue haze. He saw a bare slope of stone out of 
which cedar-trees were growing. And as he looked 
about him he became aware of a singular and very 
perceptible change in the lights and shades. The 
stm was setting; the crags were gold-tipped; the 
shadows crept upward; the sky seemed to darken 
swiftly; then the gold changed to red, slowly dulled, 
and the grays and purples stood out. Shefford was 
entranced with the beautiful chan^ng effects, and 
watched till the walls tmned black and the sky grew 
steely and a faint star peeped out. Then he set 
about the necessary camp tasks. 

Dead cedars right at hand assured him a com- 
fortable night with steady fire; and when he had 
satisfied his hunger he arranged an easy seat before 
the blazing logs, and gave his mind over to thought 
of his weird, lonely environment. 

Ilie murmur of running water mingled in har- 
monious accompaniment with the moan of the wind 
37 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

in the cedars — ^wild, sweet sounds that were balm 
to his wounded spirit I They seemed a part of the 
silence, rather than a break in it or a hindrance 
to the feeling of it. But suddenly that alence did 
break to the rattle of a rock. SheflEord listened, 
thinking some wild animal was prowling around. 
He felt no alarm. Presently he heard the sound 
again, and again. Then he recognized the crack 
of unshod hoofs upon rock. A horse was coming 
down the trail. ShefEord rather resented the in- 
terruption, though he still had no alarm. He be- 
lieved he was perfectly safe. As a matter of fact, 
he had never in his life been anything but safe and 
padded aroimd with wool, hence, never having 
experienced peril, he did not know what fear was. 

Presently he saw a horse and rider come into 
dark prominence cm the ridge just above his camp. 
They were silhouetted against the starry sky. The 
horseman stopped and he and his steed made a 
magnificent black statue, somehow wild and strai^e, 
in Shefford's sight. Then he came on, vanished in 
the darkness under the ridge, presently to emerge 
into the circle of camp-fire light. 

He rode to within twenty feet of SheSord and the 
fire. The horse was dark, wild-looking, and seemed 
ready to run. The rider appeared to be an Indian, 
and yet had something about him suggesting the 
cowboy. At once ShefEord remembered what Pres- 
brey had said about half-breeds. A little shock, 
inexplicable to ShefEord, rippled over him. 

He greeted his visitor, but received no answer. 
Shefford saw a dark, squat figure bending forward in 
the saddle. The man was tense. All about him 



X.oo^k 



THE SAGI 

was dark except the glint of a rifle across the saddle. 
The face under the sombrero was only a shadow. 
Shefford kicked the fire-logs and a brighter blaze 
Ug^tened the scene. Then he saw this stranger a 
little more clearly, and made out an unusually large 
head, broad dark face, a sinister tight-shut mouth, 
and gleaming black eyes. 

Those eyes were unmistakably hostile. They 
roved searchingly over Shefford's pack and then 
over his person. SheSord felt for the gun that 
Presbrey had given him. But it was gone. He 
had left it bade where he had lost his horse, and 
had not thought of it since. Then a strange, slow- 
coming cold agitation possessed SheSord. Some- 
thing gripped his throat. 

Suddenly Shefford was stricken at a menacing 
movement on the part of the horseman. He had 
drawn a gun. Sheftcwd saw it shine darkly in the 
firelight. The Indian meant to murder him. Shef- 
ford saw the grim, dark face in a kind of horrible 
amaze. He felt the meaning of that drawn weapon 
as he had never felt anything before in his life. 
And he collapsed back into his seat with an icy, 
sickening terror. In a second he was dripping wet 
with cold sweat. Lightning-swift thoughts flashed 
through his mind. It had been one of his platitudes 
that he was not afraid of death. Yet here he was 
a shaking, hdpless coward. What had he learned 
about either life or death? Would this dark savage 
plunge him into the unknown? It was then that 
SheSord realized his hollow philosophy and the 
bitter-sweetness of life. He had a brain and a soul, 
and between them he might have worked out his 



X.oo^k 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

salvation. But what were they to this ruthless 
night-wanderer, this raw and horrible wildness of 
the desert? 

Incapable of voluntary movement, with tongue 
cleaving to the rod of his mouth, Shefford watched 
the horseman and the half-poised gun. It was not 
yet leveled. Then it dawn^ upon Shefford that the 
stranger's head was turned a Httle, his ear to the 
wind. He was listening. His horse was listening. 
Suddenly he straightened up, wheeled his horse, and 
trotted away into the darkness. But he did not 
climb the ridge down which he had come. 

Shefford heard the click of hoofs upon the stony 
trail. Other horses and riders were descending into 
the cafion. They had been the cause of his de- 
liverance, and in the relaxation oi feeling he almost 
fainted. Then he sat there, slowly recovering, 
slowly ceasing to tranble, divining that this situation 
was somehow to change his attitude toward life. 

Three horses, two with riders, moved in dark 
shapes across the sky-line above the ridge, dis- 
appeared as had Shefford's first visitor, and then 
rode into the light. Shefford saw two Indians — a man . 
and a woman; then with 'surprise recognized the 
latter to be the Indian ^1 he had met at Red Late. 
He was still more surprised to recognize in the 
third horse the one he had lost at the last camp. 
Shefford rose, a Httle shaky on -his l^s, to thank 
these Indians for a double service. The man 
slipped from his saddle and his moccasined feet 
thudded lightly. He was tall, lithe, erect, a sin- 
gularly graceful figure, and as he advanced Shefford 
saw a dark face and sharp, dark eyes. The Indian - 
30 



THE SAGI 

was bareheaded, with his baJr bound in a band. He 
resembled the girl, but appeared to have a finer face. 

"How do?" he said, in a voice low and distinct. 
He extended his hand, and Sh^ord felt a grip of 
steel. He returned the greeting. Then the Indian 
gave Shefford the bridle of the horse, and made 
signs that appeared to indicate the horse had broken 
his hobbles and strayed. ShefEord thanked him. 
Thereupon the Indian unsaddled and led the horses 
away, evidently to water them. The girl remained 
behind. Shefford addressed her, but she was shy 
and did not respond. He then set about cooking a 
meal for his visitors, and was busily engaged at this 
when the Indian returned without the horses. 
Presently Shefford resumed his seat by the fire and 
watched the two eat what he had prepared. They 
certainly were hungry and soon had the pans and 
cups empty. Then the girl drew back a little into 
the shadow, while the man sat with his legs crossed 
and his feet tucked imder him. 

His dark face was smooth, yet it seemed to have 
lines under the surface. Sh^ord was impressed. 
He had never seen an Indian who interested him 
as this one. Looked at superfidally, he appeared 
young, wild, silent, locked in his primeval apathy, 
just a healthy savage; but looked at more atten- 
tively, he appeared matured, even old, a strange, 
sad, brooding figure, with a burden on his shoulders. 
Shefford found himself growing curious. 

"What place?" asked Shefford, waving his hand 
toward the dark opening between the black cliffs. 

"Sagi," replied the Indian. 

That did not mean anything to Shefford, and he 
31 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

asked if the Sagi was the pass, but the Indian shook 
his head. 

"Wife?" asked ShefEord, pointing to the girl. 

The Indian shook his head again. "Bi-la," he said. 

"What you mean?" asked ShefEord. "What 
bi-laV 

"Sister," replied the Indian. He spdce tiie word 
reluctantly, as if the white man's language did not 
please him, but the clearness and correct pronun- 
ciation surprised Shefford. 

"What name — what call her?" he went on. 

"Glen Naspa." 

"What your name?" inquired Shefford, indicat- 
ing the Indian. 

"Nas Ta Bega," answered the Indian. 

"Navajo?" 

The Indian bowed with what seemed pride and 
stately dignity. 

"My name John Shefford. ~ Come far 'way back 
toward rising sun. Come stay here long." 

Nas Ta Bega's dark eyes were fixed steadily upon 
^i^ord. He reflected that he could not remember 
having felt so penetrating a gaze. But neither the 
Indian's eyes nor face gave any clue to his thoughts. 

"Navajo no savvy Jesus Christ," said the Indian, 
and his voice rolled out low and deep. 

Shefford felt both amaze and pain. The Indian 
had taken him for a missionary. 

"No! . . . Me no missionary," cried Shefford, and 
he flung up a passionately repudiating hand. 

A singular flash shot from the Indian's dark eyes. 
It struck Shefford even at this stinging moment when 
the past came back. 

32 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE SAGI 

"Trade — ^buy wool — blanket?" queried Nas Ta 
Bega. 

"No," replied ShefiEord. "Me want ride — walk 
far." He waved his hand to indicate a wide sweep 
of territory. "Me sick." 

Nas Ta Bega laid a significant finger upon his 
lungs. 

"No," replied SheEEord. "Me strong. Sick here." 
And with moticms of his hands he tried to show that 
his was a trouble of the heart. 

Shefford received instant impression of this 
Indian's intelligent comprehension, but he could 
not tell just what had given him the feeling. Nas 
Ta Bega rose then and walked away into the shadow. 
Sh^ord heard him working around the dead cedar- 
tree, where he had probably gone to get fire-wood. 
Then Shefford heard a splintering crash, which was 
followed by a crunching, bumping sound. Pres- 
ently he was astounded to see the Indian enter the 
lighted circle dragging the whole cedar-tree, trunk 
first. Shefford would have doubted the ability of 
two men to drag that tree, and here came Nas Ta 
Bega, managing it easily. He laid the trunk on the 
fire, and then proceeded to break off small branches, 
to place them advantageously where the red coals 
kindled them into a blaze. 

The Indian's next move was to place his saddle, 
which he evidently meant to use for a pillow. Then 
he spread a goat-skin on the ground, lay down upon 
it, with his back to the fire, and, pulling a. long-haired 
saddle-blanket over his shoulders, he relaxed and 
became motionless. His sister. Glen Naspa, did like- 
wise, except that she stayed farther away &om the 
33 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

fire, and she had a larger blaniet, which covered her 
well. It appeared to SheflEord that they went to 
sleep at once. 

SheSord felt as tired as he had ever been, but he 
did not think he could soon drop into slumber, and 
in fact he did not want to. 

There was something in the companicMiship of 
these Indians that he had not experient^ before. 
He still had a strange and weak feeling — ^the after- 
math of that fear which had sid^ned him with its 
horrible icy grip. Nas Ta Bega's arrival had fri^t- 
ened away that dark and silent prowler of the night ; 
and SheSord was convinced the Indian had saved 
his life. The measure of his gratitude was a source 
of wonder to him. Had he cared so much for life? 
Yes — he had, when face to face with death. That 
was something to know. It helped him. And he 
gathered from his strange feelings that the romantic 
quest which had brought him into the wilderness 
might turn out to be an antidote for the morbid 
bitterness of heart. 

With new sensations had come new thoughts. 
Right then it was very pleasant to sit in the warmth 
and light of the roaring cedar fire. There was a 
deep-seated ache of fatigue in his bones. What 
joy it was to rest! He had felt the dry scorch of 
desert thirst and the pang of hunger. Hpw wonder- 
ful to leam the real meaning of water and food! 
He had just finished the longest, hardest day's work 
of his life! Had that anything to do with a some- 
thing almost like peace which seemed to hover near 
in the shadows, trying to come to him? He had be- 
friended an Indian girl, and now her brother had 



THE SAGI 

paid back the service. Both the giving and re- 
ceiving were somehow sweet to Shefford. They 
opened up hitherto vague channels of thought. For 
years he had imagined he was serving people, when 
he had never lifted a hand. A blow given in the 
defense of an Indian girl had somehow operated to 
make a change in John Shefford's existence. It had 
liberated a spirit in hira. Moreover, it had worked 
its influence outside his mind. The Indian girl and 
her brother had followed his trail to return his horse, 
p^haps to guide him safely, but, unknowingly per- 
haps, they had done infinitely more than ^at for 
him. As Shefford's eye wandered over the dark, 
still figures of the sleepers he had a strange, dreamy 
premonition, or perhaps only a fancy, that there 
was to be more come of this fortunate meeting. 

For the rest, it was good to be there in the speaking 
silence, to feel the heat on his outstretched palms 
and the cold wind on his cheek, to see the black wall 
lifting its bold outline and the crags reaching for 
the white stars. 



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Ill 

KAYENTA 

TliE stamping of horses awoke Shefford. He 
saw a towering crag, rosy in the morning light, 
like a huge red spear spUtting the clear blue of sky. 
He got up, feeling cramped and sore, yet with tm- 
fnmiliar exhilaration. Ilie whipping air made him 
stretch his hands to the fire. An odor of coSee and 
broiled meat minted with the fragrance of wood 
smoke. Glen Naspa was on her knees broiling a 
rabbit on a stick over the red coals. Nas Ta Bega 
was saddling the ponies. The canon appeared to be 
full of purple shadows i^der one side of dark cliffs 
and golden streaks of mist on the other where the 
sun struck high up on the walls. 

"Good morning," said Shefford. 

Glen Naspa shyly rephed in Navajo. 

"How," was Nas Ta Bega's greeting. 

In daylight the Indian lost some of the dark 
sombemess of face that had impressed Shefford. 
He had a noble head, in poise like that of an eagle, a 
bold, clean-cut profile, and stem, close-shut lips. 
His eyes were the most striking and attractive fea- 
ture about him; they were coal-black and pierdng; 
the intent look out of them seemed to ctmns £rt»u a 
keen and inqui^tive mind. 
36 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



KAYENTA 

ShefFord ate breakfast with the Indians, and then 
helped with the few preparations for departure. 
Before they mounted, Nas Ta Bega pointed to horse 
tracks in the dust. They were those that had been 
made by ShefEord's threatening visitor of the night 
before. ShefEord explained by word and sign, and 
succeeded at least in showing that he had been in 
danger. Nas Ta Bega followed the tracks a little 
way and presently returned. 

"Shadd," he said, with an ominous shake of his 
head. SheSord did not understand whether he 
meant the name of his visitor or something else, but 
the menace connected with the word was clear 
enough. 

Glen Naspa moimted her pony, and it was a 
graceful action that pleased Shefford. He climbed 
a littie stiffly into his own saddle. Then Nas Ta 
Bega got up and pointed norUiward. 

"Kayenta?" he inquired. 

SheflEord nodded and then they were off, with Glen 
Naspa in the lead. They did. not climb the trail 
which they had descended, but took one leading to 
the right along the base of the slope. Shefford saw , 
down into the red wash that bisected the caflon floor. 
It was a sheer wall of red day or loam, a hundred 
feet high, and at the bottom ran a swift, shallow 
stream of reddish water. Then for a time a high 
growth of greasewood hid the surroundings from 
Sh^ord's sight. Presently the trail led out into the 
open, and Shefford saw that he was at the neck of a 
wonderful valley that gradually widened with great 
jagged red peaks on the left and the black mesa, now 
a mountain, running away to the right. He turned 
37 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

to find that the opening of the Sagi could no longer 
be seen, and he was conscious of a strong desire to 
return and explore that caiion. 

Soon Glen Naspa put her pony to a long, easy, 
swinging canter and her followers did likewise. As 
they got outwM^ into the valley Shefford lost the 
sense of being overshadowed and crowded by the 
nearness of the huge wails and crags. The trail 
appeared level underfoot, but at a distance it was 
seen to climb. Shefford found where it disappeared 
over the foot of a slope that formed a graceful 
rising line up to the cedared flank of the mesa. 
The valley floor, widening away to the north, re- 
mained level and green. Beyond rose the jagged 
range of red peaks, all strangely cut and slanting. 
Tliese distant deceiving features of the country held 
Shefford's gaze until the Indian drew his attention 
to tbings near at hand. Then Shefford saw flocks 
of sheep dotting the gray-green valley, and bands of 
beautiful long-maned, long-tailed ponies. 

For several miles the scene did not change except 
that Shefford imagined he came to see where the up- 
land plain ended or at least broke its level. He was 
right, for presently the Indian pcnnted, and Shefford 
went on to halt upon the edge of a steep slope lead- 
ing down into a valley vast in its barren gray reaches. 

"Kayenta," said Nas Ta Bega. 

Shefford at first saw nothing except the monoto- 
nous gray valley reaching far to the strange, grotesque 
monuments of yellow cliff. Then close under the 
foot of the slope he espied two squat stone houses 
with red roofs, and a corral with a pool of water 
shining in the sun. 



DglzMbyGOO^IC 



KAYENTA 

The trail leading down was steep and sandy, but 
it was not long. Shefiord's sweeping eyes appeared 
to take in everything at once — the crude stone struc- 
tures with their earthen roofs, the piles of dirty wool, 
the Indians lolling around, the tents, and wagtms, 
and horses, little lazy burros and dogs, and scat- 
tered everywhere saddles, blankets, guns, and packs. 

Then a white man came out of the door. He 
waved a hand and shouted. Dust and wool and 
flour were tiiick upon him. He was muscxalar and 
weather-beaten, and appeared young in activity 
rather than face. A gun swung at his hip and a 
row of brass-tipped cartridges showed in his belt. 
SheSord looked into a face that he thought he had 
seen before, imtil he realized the similarity was 
only the bronze and hard line and ru^ed cast com- 
mon to desert men. The gray searching eyes went 
right throt^ him. 

"Glad to see jrau. Get down and come in. Just 
heard from an Indian that you were coming. I'm 
the trader Withers," he said to ShefEord. His voice 
was welcoming and the grip of his hand made 
SheflEord's ache. ' 

Shefford told his name and said he was as glad as 
he was lucky to arrive at Kayenta. 

"Hellol Nas Ta Bega!" exclaimed Withers. 
His tone expressed a surprise his face did not show. 
"Did this Indian bring you in?" 

Withers shook hands with the Navajo while Shef- 
ford briefly related what he owed to him. Then 
Withers looked at Nas Ta Bega and spoke to him in 
the Indian tongue. 

"Shadd," said Nas Ta Bega. 



by Google 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Withers let out a dry little laugh and his strong 
hand tugged at his mustache. 

"Who's Shadd?" asked ShefEord. 

"He's a half-breed Ute — bad Indian, outlaw, mur- 
derer. He's in with a gang of outlaws who hide 
in the San Juan country. . . . Reckon you're lucky. 
How'd you come to be there in the Sagi alraie?" 

"I traveled from Red Lake. Presbrey, the 
trader there, advised against it, but I came any- 
way." ^ 

"Well." ■ Withers's gray glance was kind, if it did 
express the foolhardiness of ShefEord's act. "Come 
into the house. . . . Never mind the horse. My wife 
-will sure be glad to see you." 

Withers led ShefEord by the first stone house, 
-which evidently was the trading-store, into the 
second. The room Sh^ord entered was large, with 
logs smoldering in a huge open fireplace, blankets 
■covering every foot of floor space, and Indian baskets 
and silver ornaments everywhere, and strange In- 
dian designs painted upon the whitewashed walls. 
TVithers called his wife and made her acquainted 
with ShefEord. She was a slight, comely little woman, 
with keen, earnest, dark eyes. She seemed to be 
serious and quiet, but she made ShefEord feel at 
home immediately. He refused, however, to accept 
the rocon ofEered him, saying that he meant to sleep 
-out tmder the open sky. Withers laughed at this 
and said he imderstood. SheSord, remembering 
Presbrey's hunger for news of the outside world, 
told this trader and his wife all he could think of; 
and he was listened to with that close attention a 
■traveler always gained in the remote places. 



A.ioglc 



KAYENTA 

"Sure am glad you rode in," said Withers, for the 
fourth time. "Now you make yourself at home. 
Stay here — come over to the store — do what you 
like. I've got to work. To-night we'll talk." 

Shefford went out with his host. The store was 
as interesting as Presbrey's, though much smaller 
and more primitive. It was full of everything, and 
smelled strongly of sheep and goats. There was 
a narrow aisle between sacks of flour and blankets 
on one side and a high counter on the other. Behind 
this counter Withers stood to wait upon the buying 
Indians. They sold blankets and skins and bags of 
wool, and in exchange took silver money. Then 
they lingered and with slow, staid reluctance bought 
one thing and then another — flour, sugar, canned 
goods, coffee, tobacco, ammunition. The counter 
was never without two or three Indians leaning 
on thar dark, silver-braceleted arms. But as they 
were slow to sell and buy and go, so were others slow 
to come in. Their voices were soft and low and it 
seemed to Shefford they were whispering. He liked 
to hear them and to look at the banded heads, the 
long, twisted rolls of black hair tied with white 
cords, the still dark faces and watchful eyes, the 
silver ear-rings, the slender, shapely brown hands, 
the lean and sinewy shapes, the corduroys with a 
belt and gun, and the small, close-fitting buckddn 
moccasins buttoned with coins. These Indians all 
appeared young, and under the quiet, slow demeanor 
there was fierce blood and fire. 

By and by two women came in, evidently squaw 
and daughter. The former was a huge, stout Indian 
with a face that was certainly pleasant if not jolly. 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

She had the comers of a blanket tied tmder her chin 
and in the folds behind on her broad back was a 
naked Indian baby, round and black of head, brown- 
skinned, with eyes as bright as beads. When the 
youngster caught sight of Shefford he made a 
startled dive into the sack of the blanket. Mani- 
festly, however, cimosity got the better of fear, for 
presently Shefford caught a pair of wondering dark 
eyes peeping at him. 

"They're good spenders, but slow," said Withers. 
"The Navajos are careful and cautious. That's 
why they're rich. This squaw, Yan As Pa, has 
flocks of sheep and more mustangs than she knows 
about." 

"Mustangs. So that's what you call the ponies?" 
replied Shefford. 

"Yep. They're mustangs, and mostly wild as 
jack-rabbits," 

Shefford strolled outside and made the acquaint- 
ance of Withers's helper, a Mormon named Whisner. 
He was a stockily built man past maturity, and his 
sun-bhstered face and watery eyes told of the open 
desert. He was engaged in weighing sacks of wool 
brought in by the Indians. Near by stood a frame- 
work of poles from which an immense bag was 
suspended. From the top of this bag protruded the 
head and shoulders of an Indian who appeared to be 
stamping and packing wool with his feet. He 
grinned at the curious Shefford. But Shefford was 
more interested in the Mormon. So far as he knew, 
. Whisner was the first man of that creed he had ever 
met, and hi5 could scarcely hide his eagerness. Ven- 
ters's stories had been of a long-past generation of 



X.oo^k 



KAYENTA 

Mormons, fanatical, ruthless, and unchangeable. 
Shefford did not expect to meet Mormons of this 
land. But any man of that religion would have 
interested him. Besides this, Whisner seemed to 
bring Hm closer to that wild secret caflon be had 
come West to find. Sh^ord was somewhat amazed 
and discomfited to have his polite and friendly 
overttires r^ulsed. Whisner might have been an 
Indian. He was cold, inconunxmicative, aloof; and 
there was something about him that made the 
sensitive Shefford feel his presence was resented. 

Presently SheSord strolled on to the corral, which 
was full of shaggy mustangs. They snorted and 
kicked at him. He had a half-formed wish that he 
would never be called upon to ride one of those wild 
brutes, and then he found himself thinking that he 
would ride one of them, and after a while any of 
them. SheSord did not understand himself, but he 
fought his natural instinctive reluctance to meet 
obstacles, peril, suffering. 

He traced the white-bordered little stream that 
made the pool in the corral, and when he came to 
where it oozed out of the sand under the bluff he 
decided that was not the spring which h?id made 
Kayenta famous. Presently down below the trad- 
ing-post he saw a trough from which burros were 
drinlcing. Here he foimd the spring, a deep well of 
eddying water walled in by stones, and the overflow 
made a shallow stream meandering away between its 
borders of alkali, Ulce a crust of salt. Shefford tasted 
the water. It bit, but it was good. 

SheSord had no trouble in making firiends with the 
lazy sleepy-eyed burros. They let him pull their 



X.oo^k 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

long ears and rub their noses, but the mustangs 
standing around were unapprc»cbable. They had 
wild eyes; they raised long ears and looked vicious. 
He let them alone. 

Evidently this trading-post was a great deal 
busier than Red hake. Shefiord cotinted a dozen 
Indians lounging outside, and there were others rid- 
ii^ away. Big wagons told how the bags of wool 
were transported out of the wilds and how supplies 
were brought in. A wide, hard-packed road led ofE 
to the east, and another, not so clearly defined, 
wound away to the north. And Ini^an trails 
streaked oS in all directions. 

Shefford discovered, however, when he had walked 
off a mUe or so across the valley to lose sight of the 
post, that the feeling of -wildness and loneliness 
retmned to him. It was a wonderful country. 
It held something for him besides the possible res- 
cue of an imprisoned girl from a wild cafion. 

That night after supper, when Withers and Shef- 
ford sat alone before the blazing logs in the huge 
fireplace, the trader laid his hand on SheSord's and 
said, wiui directness and force: 

"I've lived my life in the desert. I've met many 
men and have been a friend to most. . . . You're no 
prospector or trader or missionary?" 

"No," replied Shefford. 

"You've had trouble?" 

"Yes." 

"Have you come in here to hide? Don't be afraid 
to tell me. I won't give you away." 

"I didn't come to hide." 



by Google 



KAYENTA 

"Tlien no (me is after you? You've done no 
wrong?" 

"Perhaps I wronged myself, but no one else," 
replied Shefford, steadily. 

"I recironed so. Well, tell me, or keep your , 
secret — it's all one to me." 

SheflEord felt a desire to untmrden himself. This 
man was strong, persuasive, kindly. He drew 
SheflEord. 

"You're welcome in Kayenta," went on Withers. 
"Stay as long as you like. I take no pay from a 
white man. If you want work I have it aplenty." 

"Thank you. That is good. I need to work. 
Well talk of it later. , . . But just yet I can't tell 
you why I came to Kayenta, what I want to do, 
how long 1 shall stay. My thoughts put in words 
would seem so like dreams. Maybe they are 
dreams. Perhaps I'm only cha^g a phantom 
— perhaps I'm only hunting the treasure at the 
foot of the rainbow." 

"Well, this is the country for rainbows," laughed 
Withers. ' ' In summer from June to August when it 
storms we have rainbows that 11 make you think 
you're in another world. The Navajos have rain- 
bow mountains, rainbow cafions, rainbow bridges of 
stone, rainbow trails. It sure is rainbow country." 

That deep and mystic chord in Shefford thrilled. 
Here it was again — something tangible at the bottom 
of his dream. 

Withers did not wait for Shefford to say any more, 
and almost as if he read his visitor's mind he began 
to talk about the wild country he called home. 

He had lived at Kayenta for several years — hard 
45 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

and profitless years by reason of marauding outlaws. 
He could not have lived there at all but for the pro- 
tection of the Indians. His father-in-law had been 
friendly with the Navajos and Piutes for many 
years, and his wife had been brought up among 
them. She was held in peculiar reverence and af- 
fection by both tribes in that part of the country. 
Probably she knew more of the Indians' habits, re- 
ligion, and life than any white person in the West. 
Both tribes were friendly and peaceable, but there 
were bad Indians, half-breeds, and outlaws that 
made the trading-post a venture Withers had long 
considered precarious, and he wanted to move and 
intended to some day. His nearest neighbors in 
New Mexico and Colorado were a himdred miles 
distant and at some seasons the roads were impas- 
sable. To the north, however, twenty miles or so, 
was situated a Mormon village named Stonebridge. 
It lay across the Utah line. Withers did some busi- 
ness with this village, but scarcely enough to warrant 
the risks he had to run. During the last year he had 
lost several pack-trains, one of which he had never 
heard of after it left Stonebridge. 

"Stonebridge!" Ktclaimed Sheffca-d, and he trem- 
bled. He had heard that name. Id. his memory 
it had a place beside the name of another village 
Shefford longed to speak of to this trader. 

"Yes — Stonebridge," replied Withers. "Ever 
heard the name?" 

"I think so. Are there other villages in — in that 
part of the country?" 

"A few, but not close. Glaze is now only a water- 
hole. Bluff and Monticello are far north across the 
46 



KAYENTA 

San Juan. . . . There used to be another village — ^but 
that wouldn't intwest you." 

"Maybe it would," replied Shefford, quietly. 

But his hint was not taken by the trader. Withers 
suddenly showed a semblance to the aloofness Shef- 
ford had observed in Whisner. 

"Withers, pardon an impertinence-y-I am deeply 
serious. . . . Are you a Mormon?" 

"Indeed I'm not," replied the trader, instantly. 

"Are you for the Mormons or against them?" 

"Neither. I get along with them. I know them. 
I believe they are a misimderstood people." 

"That's for them." 

"No. I'm only fair-minded." 

Shefford paused, trying to curb his thrilling im- 
pulse, but it was too strong. 

"You said there used to be another village. . . . 
Was the name of it — Cottonwoods?" 

Withers gave a start and faced roimd to stare at 
SheSoi^ in blank astonishment. 

' ' Say, did you give me a straight story about your- 
self ?" he queried, sharply. 

"So far as I went," replied Sh^ord. 

"You're no spy on the lookout for sealed wives?" 

"Absolutely not. I don't even know what you 
mean by sealed wives." 

"Well, it's damn strange that you'd know the 
name Cottonwoods. . . . Yes, that's the name of the 
village I meant — the one that used to be. It's gone 
now, all except a few stone walls." 

"What became of it?" 

"Tom down by Mormcais years ago. They 

destroyed it and moved away. I've heard Indians 

47 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

talk about a grand spring that was there once. 
■It's gone, too. Its name was — let me s^e — ", 

"Amber Spring," interrupted Shefford. 

"By George, you're right!" rejoined the trader, 
again amazed. ' ' SheSord, this beats me. I haven't 
heard that name for ten years. I can't help seeing 
what a tenderfoot — stranger — you are to the desert. 
Yet, here you are — speaking of what you should 
know nothing of , . . . And there's more behind this." 

SheflEord rose, unable to conceal his agitation. 

"Did you ever hear of a rider named Venters?" 

"RidCTF You mean a cowboy? Venters. No, 
I never heard that name." 

"Did you ever hear of a gunman named Lassi- 
ter?" queried ShefEord, with increasing emotion. 

"No." 

"Did you ev^ hear of a Mormon woman named 
— Jane Withersteen?" 

"No." 

Shefford drew his breath sharply. He had fol- 
lowed a gleam — ^he had caught a fleeting glimpse 
of it. 

' ' Did you ever hear of a child — a girl — a woman — 
called Fay Larkin?" 

Withers rose slowly with a paling face, 

"If you're a spy it '11 go hard with you — though 
I'm no Mormon," he said, grimly. 

Sh^ord lifted a shaking hand. 

"I was a dergirman. Now I'm nothing — a wan- 
derer — ^least of ^ a spy." 

Withers leaned closer to see into the other man's 
eyes; he looked long and then appeared satisfied. 

"I've heard the name Fay Larkin," he said, 
48 



KAYENTA 

slowly. "I reckon that's all I'll say till you tell 
ycmr story." 

Shefford stood with his back to the fire and he 
turned the palms of bis hands to catch the warmth. 
He felt cold. Withers had aSected him strangely. 
What was the meanii^ of the trader's somber 
gravity? Why was the very mention of Mormons 
attended by something austere and secret? 

"My name is John Shefford. I am twenty-four," 
began Shefford. "My family — " 

Here a knock on the door interrupted Shefford. 

"Come in," called Withers. 

The door opened and like a shadow Nas Ta Bega 
slipped in. He said something in Navajo to the 
trader. 

"How," he said to Shefford, and extended his 
hand. He was stately, but there was no mistakiiig 
his friendliness. Then he sat down before the fire, 
doubled his legs tmder him after the Indian fashion, 
and with dark eyes on the blazir^ logs seemed to 
lose himself in meditation. 

"He likes the fire," explained Withers. "When- 
ever he comes to Kayenta he always visits me like 
this Don't mind him. Go on with your story." 

"My family were plain people, well-to-do, and 
very religious," went on Shefford. "When I was a 
boy we moved from the country to a town called 
Beaumont, Illinois. There was a college in Beau- 
mont and eventually I was sent to it to study for the 
ministry. I wanted to be — But never mind that. 
... By the time I was twenty-two I was ready for my 
career as a dergyman. I preached for a year around 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

at different places and then got a chiirch in my home 
town of Beatunont. I became exceedingly good 
friends with a man named Venters, who had recently 
come to Beaumont. He was a singular man. Wis 
wife was a strange, beautiful woman, very reserved, 
and she had wondeifid dark eyes. They had money 
and were devoted to each other, and perfectly 
happy. They owned the finest horses ever seen in 
Illinois, and their particular enjoyment seemed to be 
riding. They were always taldi^ long rides. It 
was somethhig worth going far for to see Mrs. 
Venters on a horse. 

"It was through my own love of horses that I 
became friendly with Venters. He and his wife 
attended my church, and as I got to see more of 
them, gradually we grew intimate. And it was not 
until I did get intimate with them that I realized 
that both seemed to be haunted by the past. They 
were sometimes sad even in their happiness. They 
drifted off into dreams. They lived back in another 
world. They seemed to be fetening. Indeed, they 
were a singularly interesting couple, . and I grew 
genuinely fond of them. By and by they had a 
little girl whom they named Jane. The coming of 
the baby made a change in my friends. They were 
happier, and I observed that the haunting shadow 
did not so often return. 

"Venters had spoken of a jotirney west that he 
and his wife meant to take some time. But after the 
baby came he never mentioned his wife in connec- 
tion with the trip. I gathered that he felt com- 
pelled to go to clear up a mystery or to find something 
— I did not make out just what. But eventually. 



KAYENTA 

and it was about a year ago, he told me his story — 
the strangest, wildest, and most tragic I "ever heard. 
"I can't tell it all now. It is enough to say that 
fifteen years before he had been a 'rider for a rich 
Mormon woman named Jane Withersteen, of this 
village Cottonwoods. She had adopted a beautiful 
Gentile child named Fay Larfcin. Her interest in 
Gentiles earned the displeasure of her dmrchmen, 
and as she was proud there came a breach. Venters 
and a gunman named Lassiter became involved in 
her quarrel. Finally Venters took to the cafions. 
Here in the wilds he found the strange girl he eventu- 
ally married. For a long time they lived in a wcmder- 
fid hidden valley, the entrance to which was gusirded 
by a huge balancing rock. Venters got away with 
the girl. But Lassiter and Jane Withersteen and 
the child Fay L-arkin were driven into the caflon. 
They escaped to the valley where Venters had lived. 
Lassiter rolled the balancing rock, and, crashing down 
the narrow trail, it loosened the weathered walls and 
closed the narrow outlet for ever." 



bf Google 



NBW FRIENDS 

SHEFPORD ended his nairative out of breath, 
pale, and dripping with sweat. Withers sat lean- ' 
ing forward witii an expressiwi of intense interest. 
Nas Ta Bega's easy, graceful pose had su««edcd to 
one of strained rigidity. He seemed a statue of 
bronze. Could a few intelligible words, ShefEord 
wondered, have created that strange, listening 
posture? 

"Venters got out of Utah, of course, as you 
know," went on Shefford. "He got out, knowing 
— as I feel I would have known — that Jane, Lasater, 
and little Fay Larkin were shut up, walled up in 
Surprise Valley. For years Venters considered it 
would not have been safe for him to venture to rescue 
them. He had no fears for their lives. They could 
live in Surprise Valley. But Venters always in- 
tended to come back with Bess and find the valley 
and his friends. No wonder he and Bess were 
haunted. However, when his wife had the baby that 
made a difference. It meant he had to go alone. 
And he was thinking seriously of starting when I — 
when there were developments that made it desir- 
able for me to leave Beaiunont. Venters's story 

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NEW FRIENDS 

haunted me as he had been hatinted. I dreamed of 
that ■wild valley — of little Fay Larkin grown to 
womanhood — sack a woman as Bess Venters was. 
And the longing to come was great. . . . And, Withers 
— here I am." 

The trader reached out and gave Shefford the 
grip of a man in whom emotion was poweiftd, but 
deep and difficult to express. 

"Listen to this. ... I wish I could help you. Life 
is a queer deal. . . . ShefEord, I've got to trust you. 
Over hwe in the wild caflon country there's a vil- 
lage of Mormons' sealed wives. It's in Arizona, 
perhaps twenty miles from here, and near the Utah 
line. When the United States government began 
to persecute, or prosecute, the Mormons for polyg- 
amy, the Mormons over here in Stonebridge took 
their sealed wives and moved them out of Utah, just 
across the line. They built houses, established a 
village there. I'm the only Gentile who knows about 
it. And I pack suppUes every few weeks in to these 
women. Tbere are perhaps fifty women, mostly 
youi^ — second or third or fourth wives of Mormons 
— sealed wives. And I want you to understand that 
sealed means sealed in all that religion or loyalty 
can get out of the word. There are also some old 
women and old men in the village, but they hardly 
count. And there's a flock of the finest children you 
ever saw in your life. 

"The idea of the Mormons must have been to 
escape prosecution. The law of the government is 
one wife for each man — no more. All over Utah 
polygamists have been arrested. The Mormons are 
deeply concerned. I bdieve they axe a good, law- 
S3 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

abiding people. But this law is a direct blow at 
their religion. In my opinion they can't obey both. 
And therefore they have not altogether given up 
plural wives. Perhaps th^ will some day. I have 
no proof, but I believe the Mormons of Stonebridge 
pay secret night visits to their sealed wives across 
the line in the lonely, hidden village. 

"Now once over in Stonebridge I overheard some 
Mormons talking about a ffxl who was named Fay 
Larkin. I never foi^t the uame. Later I heard the 
name in this sealed-wife village. But, as I told you, 
I never heard of Lassiter or Jane Withersteen. Still, 
if Mormons had found them I would never have 
heard of it. And Deception Pass — that might be 
the Sagi. . . . I'm not surprised at your rainbow- 
chasing adventiffe. It's a great story. . . . This Fay 
I-arkin I've heard of might be your Fay Larkin — I 
almost believe so. Shefford, I'll help you find out." 

"Yes, yes — I mtist know," replied Shefford. *'0h, 
I hope, I pray we can find herl But — I'd rather she 
was dead — if she's not still hidden in the valley." 

' ' Naturally. You've dreamed yourself into rescu- 
ing this lost Fay Larkin. . . . But, Shefford, you're old 
enough to know life doesn't work out as you want 
it to. One way or another I fear you're in for a 
bitter disappointment." 

"Withers, take me to the village." 

"Shefford, you're liable to get in bad out here," 
said the trader, gravely. 

"I couldn't be any more ruined than I am now," 
replied Shefford, passionately. 

"But there's risk in this — risk such as you never 
had," persisted Withers. 



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NEW FRIENDS 

"I'll risk anything." 

"Reckon this 's a funny deal for a sheep-trader to 
have on his hands," continued Withers. "Shef- 
ford, I like you. I've a mind to see you through 
this. It's a damn strange story. ... I'll tell you 
what — ^I win help you. I'll give you a job paddng 
supplies in to the village. I meant to ttirn that over 
to a Mormon cowboy — Joe Lake. Tlie job shall be 
yours, and I'll go with you first trip. Here's my 
hand on it. . . . Now, SheEFord, I'm more curious 
about you than I was before you told your story. 
What ruined you? As we're to be partners, you can 
tell me now. I'll keep your secret. Maybe I can 
do you good." 

SheSord wanted to confess, yet it was hard. 
Perhaps, had he not been so agitated, he would not 
have answered to impulse. But this trader was a 
man — a man of the desert — ^he would understand. 

"I told you I was a clergyman," said SheSord in 
low voice. "I didn't want to be one, but they made 
me one. I did my best. I failed. ... I had doubts 
of religion — of the Bible — of God, as my Church 
believed in them. As I grew older thought and 
study convinced me of the narrowness of religion as 
my congregation lived it. I preached what I be- 
lieved. I alienated them. They put me out, took 
my calling from me, disgraced me, ruined me." 

"So that's alll" exclaimed Withers, slowly. "You 

didn't believe in the God of the Bible Well, I've 

been in the desert long enough to know there is a 
God, but probably not the one your Church wor- 
ships. . . . Sh^ord, go to the Navajo for a faith!" 

Sheff ord had forgotten the presence of Nas Ta 

5 SS 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Bega, and perhaps Withers had likewise. At this 
juncture the Indian rose to bis full height, and he 
folded his arms to stand with the somber pride of a 
chieftain while his dark, inscrutable eyes were 
riveted upon Shefford. At that moment he seemed 
magnificent. How infinitely more he seemed than 
just a common Indian who had chanced to befriend 
a white man! The difference was obscure to Shef- 
ford. But he felt that it was there in the Navajo's 
mind. Nas Ta Bega's strange look was not to be 
interpreted. Presently he turned and passed from 
the room. 

"By George!" cried Withers, suddenly, and he 
pounded his knee with his fist. "I'd forgotten." 

"What?" ejaculated Shefford. 

"Why, that Indian understood every word we said. 
He knows English. He's educated. Well, if this 
doesn't beat me. . . . Let me tell you about Nas 
Ta Bega." 

Withers appeared to be recalling something half 
forgotten. 

"Years ago, in fifty-seven, I think. Kit Carson 
"with his so1(Kots chased the Navajo tribes and 
Toqnded them up to be put on reservations. But he 
failed to catch all the members of one tribe. They 
escaped up into wild cations like the Sa^. The 
descendants of these fugitives live there now and 
are the finest Indians on earth — the finest because 
unspoiled by the white man. Well, as I got the 
story, years after Carson's round-up one of his 
soldiers guided some interested travelers in here. 
"When they left they took an Indian boy with them 
to educate. From what I know of Navajos I'm 
56 



NEW FRIENDS 

inclined to think the boy was taken against his 
parents* wish. Anyway, he was taken. That boy 
was Nas Ta Bega. The story goes that he was 
educated somewhere. Years afterward, and perhaps 
not long before I came in here, he returned to his 
people. There have been missionaries and other 
interested fools who have given Indians a white 
man's education. In all the instances I know of, 
tibese educated Indians returned to their tribes, 
repudiating the white man's knowledge, habits, life, 
and religion. I have heard that Nas Ta Bega came 
back, laid down the white man's clothes along with 
the education, and never again showed that he had 
known either. 

"You have just seen how strangely he acted. 
It's almost certain he heard our conversation. 
Well, it doesn't matter. He won't teU. He can 
hardly be made to use an English word. Besides, 
he's a noble red man, if there ever was one. He 
has been a friend in need to me. If you stay long 
out here you'll learn something from the Indians. 
Nas Ta Bega has befriended you, too, it seems. I 
thought he showed unusual interest in you." 

"Perhaps that was because I saved his sister — 
well, to be charitable, from the rather rude advances 
of a white man," said Shefford, and he proceeded 
to tell of the incident that occurred at Red Lake. 

"Willetts!" exclaimed Withers, with much the 
same expression that Presbrey had used. "I never 
met him. But I know about him. He's — ^well, the 
TndiflTifi don't like him much. Most ot the mis- 
sionaries are good men — good for the IndiEms, in a 
way, but sometimes one drifts out here who is bad. 
57 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

A bad missionary teaching religion to savages! 
Queer, isn't it? The queerest part is the white 
people's blindness — ^the blindness of those who send 
the missionaries. Well, I dare say Willetts isn't very 
good. When Presbrey said that was Willetts's way 
of teaching religion he meant just what he said. 
If Willetts drifts over here he'll be risking much. . . . 
This you told me explains Nas Ta Bega's friendliness 
toward you, and also his bringing his sister Glen 
Naspa to live with relatives up in the pass. She 
had been living near Red Lake." 

"Do you mean Nas Ta Bega wants to keep his 
sister far removed from Willetts?" inqttired Shefford. 

"I mean that," replied Mothers, "and I hope he's 
not too late." 

Later SheSord went outdoors to walk and think. 
There was no moon, but the stars made Ught enough 
to cast his shadow on the grotmd. The dark, il- 
limitable expanse of blue sky seemed to be glittering 
with ntunberless points c£ fire. The air was cold 
and stilL A dreaming silence lay over the land. 
SheSord saw and felt all these things, and their 
effect was continuot^ and remained with him and 
helped calm him. He was conscious of a burden 
removed from his mind. Confession of his secret 
had been like tearing a thorn from his flesh, but, 
once done, it afforded him relief and a singular 
realization that out here it did not matter much. 
In a crowd of men all looking at him and judging 
him by their standards he had been made to suffer. 
Here, if he were judged at all, it would be by what 
he could do, how he sustained himself and helped 
others. 

S8 



NEW FRIENDS 

He walked far across the valley toward the low 
bluffs, but they did not seem to get any closer. 
And, finally, he stopped beside a stone and lool«d 
around at the strange horizon and up at the heavens. 
He did not feel utterly aloof from them, nor alone in 
a waste, nor a useless atom amid incomprehensible 
forces. Something like a loosened mantle fell from 
about him, dropping down at his feet; and all at 
once he was conscious of freedom. He did not un- 
derstand in the least why abasement left him, but it 
was so. He had come a long way, in bitterness, in 
despair, believing himself to be what men had 
called him. The desert and the stars and the wind, 
the silence of the night, the loneliness of this vast 
country where there was room for a thousand 
cities — ^these somehow vaguely, yet surely, bade 
him lift his head. They withheld their secret, but 
they made a promise. The thing which he had been 
feeling every day and every ni^^t was a strange 
enveloping comfort. And it was at this moment 
that Shefford, divining whence his help was to come, 
embraced all that wild and speaking nature arotmd 
and above him and surrendered himself utterly. 

"I am young. I am free. I have my life to Uve," 
he said. "I'll be a man. I'll take what comes. 
Let me learn here I" 

When he had spoken out, settled caice and for ever 
his attitude toward his future, he seemed to be bom 
again, wonderfully alive to the influences aroimd him, 
ready to trust what yet remained a mystery. 

Then his thoughts reverted to Fay Larldn. 

Could this girl be known to the Mormons? It was 

possible. Fay Larkin was an imusua! name. Deep 

59 



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THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

into Shefford's heart had sunk liie story Venters had 
told. Shefford foiind that he had unconsciously 
created a like romance — he had been loving a wild 
and strange and lonely girl, like beautiful Bess 
Venters. It was a shock to learn the truth, but, as it 
had been only a dream, it could hardly be vital. 

Shefford retraced his steps toward the post. Half* 
way back he espied a tall, dark figure moving toward 
him, and presently the shape and the step seemed 
familiar. Then he recognized Nas Ta Bega. Soon 
they were face to face. Shefiord felt that the Indian 
had been trailing him over the sand, and that this 
was to be a significant meeting. Remembering 
Withers's revelation about the Navajo, SheSord 
scarcely knew how to approach him now. There 
was no difference to be made out in Nas Ta Bega's 
dark face and inscrutable eyes, yet there was a 
difference to be felt in his presence. But the Indian 
did not speak, and turned to walk by Shefford's 
side. Shetford could not long be silent. 

"Nas Ta Bega, were you looking for me?" he asked. 

"You had no gun," replied the Indian. 

But for his very low voice, his slow speaking of 
the words, Shefford woidd have thought him a white 
man. For Shefford there was indeed an instinct in 
this meeting, and he tmmed to face the Navajo. 

"Withers told me you had been educated, that 
you came back to the desert, that you never showed 
your training. . . . Nas Ta Bega, did you understand 
all I told Withers?" 

"Yes," repUed the Indian. 

"You won't betray me?" 

"I am a Navajo." 

60 



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NEW FRIENDS 

"Nas Ta Bega, you trail me — you say I had no 
gun." SheSord wanted to ask this Indian if he 
cared to be the white man's friend, but the question 
was not easy to put, and, besides, seemed unneces- 
sary. ' ' I am alone and strange in this wild country. 
I must learn." 

"Nas Ta Bega will show you the trails and the 
water-holes and how to hide from Shadd." 

' ' For money — for silver you will do this ?' ' inquired 
Shefford. 

Shefford felt that the Indian's silence was a 
rebuke. He remembered Withers's singular praise 
of this red man. He realized he must change his 
idea o£ Indians. 

"Nas Ta Bega, I know nothing. I feel like a 
child in the wilderness. When I speak it is out of 
t±ie mouths of those who have taught me. I must 
find a new vcrice and a new life. . . . You heard my 
story to Withers. I am an outcast from my own 
people. IE you will be my friend — ^be so." 

'Hie Indian clasped SheflEord's hand and held it 
in a response that was more beautiful for its silence. 
So they stood for a moment in the starlight. 

"Nas Ta Bega, what did Withers mean when 
he said go to the Navajo for a faith?" asked 
SheflEord. 

"He meant .the desert is my mother. . . . Will 
you go with Nas Ta Bega into the carions and the 
mountains?" 

"Indeed I will." 

TTiey imclasped hands and turned toward the 
trading-post. 

"Nas Ta Bega, have you spoken my tongue to 
6i 



X.oo^^ 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

any other white man since you returned to your 
home?" asked SheSord. 

"No." 

"Why do you— why are you different for me?" 

The Indian mainta^ied silence. 

"Is it because of — of Glen Naspa?" inquired 
Shefford. 

Nas Ta Bega stalked on, still dlent, but Shefford 
divined that, although his service to Glen Naspa 
would never be forgotten, still it was not whoUy 
responsible for the Indian's subtle sympatiiy. 

"Bi Nai! The Navajo will call his white friend 
Bi Nai — ^brother," said Nas Ta Bega, and he spoke 
haltii^y, not as if words were hard to find, but 
strange to speak. "I was stolen from my mother's 
hogan and taken to California. They kept me ten 
years in a mission at San Bernardino and four years 
in a school. They said my color and my hair were 
all that was left of the bidian in me. But they 
could not see my heart. They took fourteen years 
of my life. They wanted to make me a missionary 
among my own people. But the white man's ways 
and his life and his God are not the Indian's. They 
never can be." 

How strangely productive (rf thought for Sh^ord 
to hear the Indian talk! What fatality in this meet- 
ing and friendship! Upon Nas Ta Bega had been 
forced education, training, religion, that had made 
him something more and something less than an 
Indian. It was something assimilated frcmi the 
white man which made the Indian tmhappy and 
alien in his own home — something meant to be good 
for him and his kind that had ruined him. For 
6a 



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NEW FRIENDS 

Shefford felt the passion and the tri^edy of this 
Navajo. 

"Bi Nai, the Indian is dying!" Nas Ta Bega's 
low voice was deep and wonderful with its intensity 
of feeling. "The white man robbed the Indian ctf 
lands and homes, drove him into the deserts, made 
him a gaimt and sleepless spiller of blood. . . . The 
blood is all spilled now, for the Indian is broken. 
But the white man seUs him rum and seduces his 
daughters. . . . He will not leave the Indian in peace 
with his own God! . . . Bi Nai, the Indian is dyingi" 

That night SheSord lay in his blankets out tmder 
the open sky and the stars. The earth had never 
meant much to him, and now it was a bed. ' He had 
preached of the heavens, but until now had never 
studied them. An Indian slept beside him. And 
not until the gray of morning had blotted out the 
starUght did Shefford close his eyes. 

With break of the nrait day came full, varied, and 
stirring inddents to Shefford. He was strong, 
though unskilled at most kinds of outdoor tasks. 
Withers had work for ten men, if they could have 
been fotmd. Shefford dug and packed and lifted 
till he was so sore and tired that rest was a blessing. 

He never succeeded in getting on a friendly footing 
with the Mormon Whisner, though he kept up his 
agreeable and kindly advances. He hstened to the 
trader's wife as she told him about the Indians, and 
what he learned he did not forget. And his wonder 
and respect increased in proportion to his knowledge. 

One day there rode into Kayenta the Mormon for 
63 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

whom Withers had been waiting. His name was 
Joe Lake. He appeared young, and slipped oS his 
superb bay with a grace and activity that were as- 
tounding in one of his huge bulk. He had a still, 
smooth face, with the color of red bronze and the 
expression of a cherub; big, soft, dark eyes; and a 
winning smile. He was surprisingly different from 
Whisner or any Mormon character that Shefford 
had naturally conceived. His costume was that of 
the cowboy on active service; and he packed a gun 
at his hip. The hand-shake he gave Shefford was 
an ordeal for that young man and left him with his 
whole right side momentarily benumbed. 

"I sure am glad to meet you," he said in a lazy, 
mild voice. And he was taking friendly stock of 
Shefford when the bay mustang reached with 
vicious muzzle to bite at him. L>al£e gave a jerk on 
the bridle that almost brou^t the mustang to his 
knees. He reared then, snorted, and came down to 
plant his forefeet wide apart, and watched his mas- 
ter with defiant eyes. This mustang was the finest 
horse Shefford had ever seen. He appeared quite 
large for his :^>ecies, was almost red in color, had a 
racy and powerful build, and a fine thoroughbred 
head with dark, fiery eyes. He did not look mean, 
but he had spirit. 

"Navvy, you've sure got bad manners," said 
Late, shaking the mustang's bridle. He spoke as 
if he were chiding a refractory little boy. "Didn't 
I break you better 'n that? What's th^ gentleman 
gcdn' to think erf jrou? Tiyin' to bite my ear off!" 

Lake had arrived about the middle of the fore- 
noon, and Withers annoimced his intention of pack- 
64 



NEW FRIENDS 

ing at once for the trip. Indians were sent out on 
the ranges to drive in burros and mustangs. SheSord 
had his thrilling expectancy somewhat diilled by 
what he considered must have been Lake's reception 
of the trader^ plan. Lake seemed to oppose him, 
and evidently it took vehemence and argument on 
Withers's part to make the Mormon tractable. But 
Withers won him over, and then he called Shefford 
to his side. 

"You fellows got to be good friends," he said. 
"You'll have chai^ of my pack-trains. Nas Ta 
Bega wants to go with you. I'll feel safer about my 
supplies and stock than I've ever been. . . . Joe, I'll 
back this stranger for all I'm worth. He's square. 
. . . And, ShefEord, Joe Lake is a Mormon of the 
younger generation. I want to start you right. 
You can trust him as you trust me. He's white 
dean through. And he's the best horse-wrangler in 
Utah." 

It was Lake who first offered his hand, and Shef- 
ford made haste to meet it with his own. Neither 
of them spoke. Shefford intuitively felt an altera- 
tion in Lake's regard, or at least a singular increase 
of interest. Lake had been told that Shefford had 
been a clergyman, was now a wanderer, without 
any religion. Again it seemed to Shefford that he 
owed a forming of friendship to this singular fact. 
And it hurt him. But strangely it came to him that 
he had taken a liking to a Mormon. 

About one o'clock the pack-train left Kayenta. 

Nas Ta Bega led the way up the slope. Following 

him climbed half a dozen patient, plodding, heavily 

laden burros. Withers came next, and he turned in 

65 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL - 

his saddle to wave good-by to his wife, Joe Lake 
appeared to be busy keeping a red mule and a wild 
gray mustang and a couple of restive blacks in the 
trail. Shefford brought up in the rear. 

His mount was a beautiful black mustang with 
three white feet, a white spot on his nose, and a 
mane that swept to his knees. "His name's Nack- 
yaJ," Withers had said. "It means two bits, or 
twenty-five cents. He ain't worth more." To look 
at Nack-yal had pleased SheSoiid very much indeed, 
but, once upon his back, he grew dubious. The mus- 
tang acted queer. He actually looked back at 
Shefford, and it was a look of speculation and dis- 
dain. Shefford took exception to Nack-yal's man- 
ner and to his reluctance to go, and especially to a 
habit the mustang had of turning off the trail to the 
left. Shefford had managed some rather spirited 
horses back in Illinois; and though he was willing 
and eager to learn all over again, he did not enjoy 
the prospect of Lake and Withers seeing this blade 
mustang make a novice of him. And he guessed that 
was just what Nack-yal intended to do. However, 
once up over the hUl, with Kayenta out of sight, 
Nack-yal trotted along fairly well, needing only now 
and then to be pulled back frcan his strange swinging 
to the left ofE the trail. 

The pack-train traveled steadily and soon crossed 
the upland plain to descaid into the valley again. 
Shefford saw the jagged red peaks with an emotion 
he could not name. The cafions between them were 
piirple in the shadows, the great walls and slopes 
br^tened to red. and the tips were gold in the sun. 
Shefford forgot all about his mustang and the trail. 
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NEW FRIENDS 

Suddenly with a pound of hoofs Nack-yal seemed 
to rise. He leaped adewise out of the trail, came 
down stiff-legged. Thsaa. Shefford shot out of the 
saddle. He landed so hard that he was stunned for 
an instant. Sittir^ up, he saw the mustang bent 
down, eyes and ears showing fight, and his fore- 
feet spread. He appeared to be looking at some- 
thing in the trail. Shefford got up and soon saw 
what had been the trouble. A long, crooked stick, 
rather thick and black and yellow, lay in the trail, 
and any mustang looking for an excuse to jump 
might have mistaken it for a rattlesnake. Nadc-yal 
appeared disposed to be satisfied, and gave Shefford 
no trouble in moimting. The incident increased 
Shefford's dubiousness. These Arizona mustangs 
were unknown quantities. 

Thereafter Shefford had an eye for the trail 
rather than the scenery, and this continued till the 
pack-train entered the mouth of the Sagi. Then those 
wonderful lofty cliffs, with their peaks and towers and 
spires, loomed so close and so beautiful that he did 
not care if Nack-yal did throw him. Along here, 
however, the mustang behaved well, and presently 
Shefford decided t^t if it had been otherwise he 
would have walked. The trail suddenly stood on 
end and led down into the deep wash, where some 
days before he had seen the stream of reddish water. 
TlUs day there appeared to be less water and it was 
not so red. Nack-yal sank ^eep as he took short 
and careful steps down. The burros and other mus- 
tangs were drinking, and Nack-yal followed suit. 
The Indian, with a hand clutchkig his mustang's 
mane, rode up a steep, sandy slope on the otha: side 
67 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

that SheSord would not have believed any horse 
could climb. The burros plodded up and over the 
rim, with Withers calling to them. Joe Lake swung 
his rope and cracked the flanks of the gray mare and 
the red mule; and the way the two kicked was a 
revelation and a warning to Shefford. When his 
turn came to climb the trail he got oS and walked, 
an action that Nack-yal appeared fully to appredate. 

From the head of this wash the trail wound away 
up the widening canon, through greasewood flats 
and over greasy levels and across sandy stretches. 
The looming walls made the valley look narrow, yet 
it must have been half a mile wide. The slopes 
under the cliffs were dotted with huge stones and 
cedar-trees. There were deep indentations in the 
walls, running back to form box cafions, choked 
with green of cedar and spruce and pifion. These 
notches haunted Shefford, and he was ever on the 
lookout for more of them. 

Withers came back to ride just in advance and 
began to talk. 

"Reckon this Sagi Cafion is your Deception Pass," 
he said. "It's sure a queer hole. I've been lost 
more than once, hunting mustangs in here. I've an 
idea Nas Ta Bega knows all Has country. He just 

pointed out a cliff-dwelling to me. See it? There 

'way up in that cave of the wall." 

Shefford saw a steep, roug^ slope leading up to a 
bulge of the cliff, and finally he made out strange 
little houses with dark, eyelike windows. He wanted 
to dimb up there. Withers called his attention to 
more caves with what he believed were the ruins of 
difi-dwdlings. And as they rode along the trader 
68 



NEW FRIENDS 

showed him remarkable formations of rock where 
the elements were slowly hollowing out a bridge. 
They came presently to a region of intersecting 
cafions, and here the breaking of the trail up and 
down the deep washes took Withers back to his 
. task with the burros and gave Shefford more con- 
cern than he liked with Nack-yaL The mustang 
grew imruly and was continually turning to the left. 
Sometimes he tried to climb the steep slope. He had 
to be ptilled hard away from the opening caflons on 
the left. It seemed strange to ShefEord that the 
mustang never swerved to the right. This habit of 
Nack-yal's and the increasing caution needed on the 
trail took all of ShefEord's attention. When he dis- 
mounted, however, he had a chance to look around, 
£ind more and more he was amazed at the increasing 
proportions and wildness of the Sagi. 

He came at length to a place where a fallen tree 
blocked the trail. All of tiie rest of the pack-train 
had jumped the log. But Nack-yal balked. Shef- 
ford dismotmted, pulled the bridle over the mus- 
tang's head, and tried to lead him. Nack-yal, how- 
ever, refused to budge. Whereupon Shefford got a 
stick and, remounting, he gave the balky mustang 
a cut across the flank. Then something violent hap- 
pened. ShefftM-d received a sudden propelling jolt, 
and then he was rising into the air, and then falling. 
B^ore he alighted he had a clear image of Nack-yal 
,in the air above him, bent double, and seemingly 
possessed of devils. Then Shefford hit the ground 
with no light thud. He was thoroughly angry when 
he got dizzily upon his feet, but he was not quick 
enough to catch the mustang. Nack-yal leaped 
69 



X.oo^^ 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

easily over the log and went on ahead, dra^png his 
bridle. Shefford hurried after him, and the faster he 
went just by so much the cunning Nack-yal acceler- 
ated bis gait. As the pack-train was out of sight 
somewhere ahead, Sheflord could not call to his com- 
panions to halt his mount, so he gave up trying, and 
walked on now with free and growing appreciation of 
his surroundings. 

The afternoon had waned. The sun blazed low 
in the west in a notch c£ the cafion ramparts, and 
one wall was darkening into purple shadow wlule 
the other shone through a golden haze. It was a 
weird, wild world to ShefEord, and every few strides 
he caught his breath and tried to realize actuality 
was not a dream. 

Nack-yal kept about a hundred paces to the fore 
and ever and anon he looked back to see how his 
new master was progressing. He varied these occa- 
sions by reaching down and nipping a tuft of grass. 
Evidently he was too intell^ent to go on fast enot^h 
to be caught by Withers. Also he kept continually 
looking up the slope to the left as if seddng a way to 
dimb out of the valley in that direction. SheffOTd 
thought it was well the trail lay at the foot of a 
steep slope that ran up to imbroken bluffs. 

"ths sun set and the cafion lost its red and its gold 
and deepened its purple. SheSord calculated he had 
walked five miles, and thou^ he did not mind the 
effort, he would rather have ridden Nadc-yal into 
camp. He mounted a cedar ri(^, crossed some 
sandy washes, turned a comer ctf bold wall to enter 
a wide, green level. The mustat^ were rolling and 
snorting. He heard the bray of a burro. A t»i£^t 



X.oo^^k' 



NEW FRIENDS 

blaze of camp-fire greeted him, and the dark figure 
of the Indian approached to intercept and catch 
Nack-yal. When he stalked into camp Withers 
wore a beaming smile, and Joe Lake, who was on his 
knees making biscuit dough in a pan, stopped pro- 
ceedings and drawled: 

"Reckon Nack-yal bucked you off." 

"Bucked! Was that it? Well, he separated him- 
self from me in a new and somewhat painful manner 
— ^to me.'.' 

"Sin-e, I saw that in his eye," replied Lake; and 
Withers laughed with him. 

"Nack-yal never was well broke," he said, "But 
he's a good mustang, nothing like Joe's Navvy or 
that gray mare Dynamite. All this Indian stock 
will buck on a man once in a while." 

"I'll take the bucking along with the rest," said 
Shefford. 

Both men liked his reply, and the Indian smiled 
for the first time. 

So(m they all sat round a spread tarpaulin and ate 
like wolves. After supper came the rest and talk 
before the camp-fire. Joe Lake was droll; he said 
the most serious things in a way to make Shefford 
wonder if he was not joking. Withers talked about 
the cailon, the Indians, the mustangs, the scorpions 
running out of the heated sand; and to Shefford 
it was all like a fascinating book. Nas Ta Bega 
smoked in dlence, his brooding eyes upon the fire. 



bf Google 



ON THB TRAIL 

SHEPPORD was awakened n^; mcmiing by a 
sound he had never heard before — the pltmj^ng 
of hobbled horses on soft turf. It was clear day- 
light, with a ruddy color in the sky and a tinge of 
red along the cafion rim. He saw Withers, Lake, 
and the Indian driving the mustangs toward camp. 

The burros appeared lazy, yet willing. But the 
mustangs and the mule Withers called Red and the 
gray mare Dynamite were determined not to be 
driven into camp. It was astonishing how much 
action they had, how much ground th^ could cover 
with th«r fco^feet hobbled together. They were 
exceedingly skilful; they lifted both forefeet at once, 
and then plunged. And they all went in different 
directicms. Nas Ta Bega darted in here and there 
to head off escape. 

Shefford ptilled on his boots and went out to help. 
He got too close to the gray mare and, warned by a 
yell from Withers, he jumped back just in time to 
avoid her vicious heels. Then Shefford turned his 
attention to Nack-yal and chased him all over the 
flat in a futile effort to catch him. Nas Ta Bega 
came to SheSord's assistance and put a rc^ over 
Nack-yal's head. 

DiglidbyGoOglc 



ON THE TRAIL 

"Don't ever get bdiind one of these mustangs," 
said Withers, wamingly, as ShefEord came up. 
"You might be killed. . . . Eat your bite now. 
We'll soorf be out of here." 

ShefEord had been late in awakenii^. The others 
had breakfasted. He found eating somewhat dif- 
ficult in the radtement that ensued. Nas Ta Bega 
held ropes which were round the necks of Red and 
Dynamite. The mule showed his cunning and al- 
ways appeared to present his heels to Withers, who 
tried to approach him with a pack-saddle. The 
patience of the trader was a revdation to SheflEord. 
And at length Red was cornered by the three men, 
the pack-saddle was strapped on, and then the packs. 
Red promptly bucked the packs off, and the work 
had to be done over again. Then Red dropped his 
long ears and seemed ready to be tractable. 

When SheSord turned his attention to Dynamite 
he decided that this was his first sight of a wild 
horse. The gray mare had fiery eyes that rolled 
and showed the white. She jumped straight up, 
screamed, pawed, bit, and then plunged down to 
shoot her hind hoofs into the air as high as her head 
had been. She was amazingly agile and she seemed 
mad to kill something. She dragged the Indian 
about, and when Joe Lal% got a rope on her hind foot 
she dragged them both. They lashed her with the 
enc^ of the lassoes, which action only made her kick 
harder. She plunged into camp, drove SheflEord 
flying for his life, knocked down two of the burros, 
and played havoc with the tmstrapped packs. 
Withers ran to the assistance of Lake, and the two 
ctf them hauled back with all tbdr strength and 
73 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

weight. They were both powerful and heavy mea. 
Dynanoite circled round and finally, after kicking 
the camp-fire to bits, fell down on her haunches in 
the hot embers. "Let — ^her — set — there!" panted 
Withers. And Joe Lake shouted, "Bum up, you 
dum, coyote!" Both men appeared delighted that 
she had brought upon herself just punishment. 
Dynamite sat in the remains of the fire long enough 
to get burnt, and then she got up and meekly 
allowed Withers to throw a tarpaulin and a roll of 
blankets over her and tie them fast. 

Lake and Withers were sweating freely when this 
job was finished. 

' ' Say, is that a usual morning's task with the pack- 
animals?" asked Shefford. 

"They're all pretty decent to-day, except Dyna- 
mite," replied Withers. "She's got tobe worked out." 

ShefEord felt both amusement and constematitm. 
The sun was just rising over the ramparts of the 
canon, and he had already seen more difficult and 
dangerous work accompHshed than half a dozen men 
of his type could do in a whole day. He liked the 
outlook of his new duty as Withers's assistant, but 
he felt helplessly ineflSdent. Still, all he needed was 
experience. He passed over what he anticipated 
would be pain and peril — the cost was of no mcnnent. 

Soon the pack-train was on the move, with the 
Indian leading. This morning Nack-yal began his 
strange swinging off to the left, precisely as he had 
done the day before. It got to be annoying to 
Shefford, and he lost patience with the mustang and 
jerked him sharply round. This, however, had no 
great effect upon Nadi-yal. 



„Gooi^lc 



ON THE TRAIL 

As the train headed stmght up the cafion Joe Lake 
dropped back to ride beside Shefford. The Mormon 
had been amiable and friendly. 

"Flock of deer up that draw," he said, pointing 
up a narsow side cafton. 

ShefEord gazed to see a half-dozen small, brown, 
long-eared objects, very like burros, watching the 
pack-train pass. 

"Are they deer?" he asksd, delightedly. 

"Sure are," replied Joe, sincerely. "Get down 
and shoot one. There's a rifle in your saddle- 



Sheff ord had already discovered that he had been 
armed this morning, a matter which had caused him 
reflection. These animals cert^nly looked like deer ; 
he had seen a few deer, though not m their native 
wild hatmts; 'and he experienced the thrill of the 
hunter. Dismoimting, 1^ drew the rifle out of the 
sheath and started toward the little cafion. 

"Hyar! Where you going with that gun?" yelled 
Withers. "That's a bunch of burros. . . . Joe's up 
to his old tricks. Shefford, look out for Joe!" 

Rather sheepishly Shefford returned to his mus- 
tang and sheathed the rifle, and then took a long 
look at the animals up the draw. They resembled 
deer, but upon second glance they surely were burros. 

"Dum me! Now if I didn't think tiiey sure were 
deer!" exclaimed Joe. He appeared absolutely an- 
cere and innocent. Shefford hardly knew how to 
take this likable Mormon, but vowed he wotdd 
be on his guard in the future. 

Nas Ta Bega soon led the pack-train toward the' 
left wall of the cafion, and evidently intended to' 
7S 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

scale it. SheSord could not see any trail, and the 
wall appeared steep and insurmountable. But upon 
nearing the cliff he saw a narrow broken trail leading 
zigzag up over smooth rock, weathered slope, and 
through cracics. 

"Spread out, and carrful now!" yelled Withers. 

The need of both advices soon became manifest 
to ShefEord. The burros started stones rolling, 
making danger for those below. Shefford dis- 
mounted and led Nack-yal and turned aside many a 
rolling rock. The Indian and the burros, with the 
red mide leading, climbed steadily. But the mus- 
tangs had trouble. Joe's spirited bay^had to be 
coaxed to face the ascent; Nack-yal balked at every 
difBcult step ; and Dynamite slipped on a flat slant of 
rock and slid down fcttty feet. Withers and Lake 
with ropes hauled the mare out of the dangerous 
position. SheflEord, who brought up the rear, saw 
all the action, and it was exdting, but his pleasure in 
the climb was spoiled by sight of blood and hair on 
the stones. The ascent was crooked, steep, and long, 
and when Shefford reached the top of the wall he 
was glad to rest. It made him gasp to look down 
and see what he had surmoimted. The cafion floor, 
green and level, lay a thousand feet below; and the 
wild burros which had followed on the trail looked 
like rabbits. 

Sheffcaxi mounted presently, and rode out upon a 
■wide, smooth trail leading into a cedar forest. 
There were bunches of gray sage in the open places. 
The air was cool and crisp, laden with a sweet 
fragrance. He saw Lake and Withers bobbing 
along, now on one side of the trail, now on the other, 
76 



ON THE TRAIL 

and they kept to a. steady trot. Occasionally the 
Indian and his bright-red saddle-blanket showed in 
an opening of the cedars. 

It was level country, and there was nothing for 
SheSord to see except cedar and sage, an outcropping 
of red rock in places, and the winding trail. Mock- 
ing-birds made melody everywhere. SheSord seemed 
full of a strange pleasure, and the hours flew by. 
Nack-yal still wanted to be everlastingly turning off 
the trail, and, moreover, now he wanted to go faster. 
He was eager, restless, dissatisfied. 

At noon the pack-train descended into a deep 
draw, well covered with cedar and sage. There was 
plenty of grass and shade, but no water. Shefford 
was surprised to see that every pack was removed; 
however, the roU of blankets was left on Dynamite. 

Ihe men made a fire and began to cook a noon- 
day meal. Shefford, tired and warm, sat in a shady 
spot and watched. He had become all eyes. He 
had almost forgotten Fay Larkin; he had forgotten 
his trouble; and the present seemed sweet and full. 
Presently his ears were filled by a pattering roar 
and, looking up the draw, he saw two streams of 
sheep and goats coming down. Soon an Indian 
shepherd appeared, riding a fine mustang. A cream- 
colored colt bounded along behind, and presently a 
shaggy dog came in sight. The Indian dismounted 
at the camp, and his flock spread by in two white 
and black streams. The dog went with them. 
Withers and Joe shook hands with the Indian, 
whom Joe called "Navvy," and Shefford lost no 
time in doing likewise. TTien Nas Ta Bega came in, 
and he and the Navajo talked. When the meal 



X.oo^k 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

vras ready all of them sat down round the canvas. 
The shepherd did not tie his horse. 

Presently Shefford noticed that Nack-yal had re- 
turned to camp and was' acting strangely. Evi- 
dently he was attracted by the Indian's mustang 
of the cream-colored colt. At any rate, Nack-yal 
hung around, tossed his head, whinnied in a low, 
nervous manner, and looked strangely eager and 
wild. Shefford was at first amiised, then curious. 
Nack-yal approached too close to the mother of the 
colt, and she gave him a. sounding kick in the ribs. 
Nack-yal uttered a plaintive snort and backed away, 
to stand, crestfallen, with all his eagerness and fire 
vanished. 

Nas Ta Bega pointed to the mustang and said 
sometjiing in his own tongue. Then Withers ad- 
dressed the visiting Indian, and they exchanged 
some wca^, whereupon the trader turned to Shefford. 

"I bought Nack-yal from this Indian three years 
ago. This mare is Nack-yal's mother. He was 
bom over here to the south. That's why he always 
swung left off the trail. He wanted to go home. 
Just now he recognized his mother and she whaled 
away and gave him a whack for his pains. She's 
got a colt now and probably didn't recognize Nack- 
yal. But he's broken-hearted." 

The trader laughed, and Joe said, "You can't tell 
what these dum mustangs will do." Shefford felt 
sorry for Nack-yal, and when it came time to saddle 
hini again found him easier to handle than ever 
before. Nack-yal stood with head down, broken- 
spirited. 

Shefford was the first to ride up out of the draw. 



ON THE TRAIL 

and once upon the top of the ridge he halted to gaze, 
wide-eyed and Mitranced. A rolliag, endless plain 
sloped down beneath him, and led him on to a dis- 
tant round-topped mountain. To the right a red 
caflon opened its jagged jaws, and away to the north 
rose a whorled and strange sea of curved ridges, 
crags, and domes. 

Nas Ta Bega rode up then, leading the pack-train. 

"Bi Nai, that is Na-tsis-an," he said, pointing to 
the mountain, "Navajo Mountain. And there in 
the north are the cafions." 

Shefford followed the Indian down the trail and 
soon lost sight of that wide green-and-red wilderness. 
Nas Ta Bega turned at an intersecting trail, rode 
down into the caflon, and climbed out on the other 
side. Shefford got a glimpse now and then of the 
black dome of the moimtain, but for the most part 
the distant points of the country were hidden. 
They crossed many trails, and went up and dowa 
the sides of many shallow canons. Troops of wild 
mustangs whistled at them, stood on ridge-tops to 
watch, and then dashed away with manes and tails 
flying. 

Withers rode forward presently and halted the 
pack-train. He had some conversation with Nas 
Ta Bega, whereupon the Indian turned his horse and 
trotted back, to disappear in the cedars. 

"I'm some worried," explained Withers. "Joe 
thinks he saw a bunch of horsemen trailing us. My 
eyes are bad ^lnd I can't see far. The Indian will 
&id out. I took a roundabout way to reach the 
village because I'm always dodging Shadd." 

ITiis commtmicaticm lent an added zest to the 
79 



,o.^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

journey. Shefford could hardly believe the truth 
that his eyes and his ears brought to his conscious- 
ness. He turned in behind Withers and rode down 
the rot^h trail, helping the mustang all in his 
power. It occurred to him that Nack-yal had been 
entirely difEerent since that meeting witii his mothra: 
in the draw. He turned no more oS the trail; he 
answered readily to the ran; he did not look afar 
ftom every ridge. Sh^ord conceived a liking for 
ike mustang. 

Witliers turned ^dewise in his saddle and let his 
mustai^ pick the way. 

"Another time we'll go up round the base of the 
mountain, where you can look down on the grandest 
scene in the world," said he. "Two hundred miles 
of wind-worn rock, all smooth and bare, without a 
single straight line— cafions, caves, bridges — the most 
wonderful country in the world! Even the Indians 
haven't ejEplored it. It's haunted, for them, and they 
have strange gods. The Navajos will hunt on this 
ade of the mountain, but not on the other. That 
north side is consecrated ground. My wife has long 
been trying to get the Navajos to tell her the secret 
of Nonnezoshe. Nonnezoshe means Rainbow Bridge. 
The Indians worship it, but as far as she can find out 
only a few have ever seen it. I imagine it 'd be 
worth some trouble." 

"Maybe that's the bridge Venters talked about — 
the one overarching the entrance to Surprise Valley," 
said Shefford. 

"It might be," replied the trader. "You've got a 
good chance of finding out. Nas Ta Bega is the 
m an. You stick to that Indian. . . . W^, we start 
80 



0^f THE TRAIL 

down here icto this ca&oa, and we go down some, 1 
reckon. In half an hour you'll see sago-lilies and 
Indian paint-brush and vennilion cactus." 

About the middle of the afternoon liie pack-train 
and its drivers arrived at the hidden Mormcm village. 
Nas Ta Bega had not returned from his scout back 
along the trail. 

Shefford's sensibilities had all been overstrained, 
but he had left in him enthusiasm and appreciation 
that made the situation of this village a fairyland. 
It was a valley, a caficm floor, so long that he could 
not see the end. and perhaps a quarter of a mile wide. 
The air was hot, still, and sweetly odoroiis of un- 
familiar flowers. Pifionand cedar trees surrounded 
the little log and stone houses, and alcmg the walls of 
the caiioa stood sharp-pointed, dark-green spruce- 
trees. These walls were singular of shape and color. 
They were not impoang in height, but they waved 
like the long, undiilating swell of a sea. Every foot 
of surface was perfectly smooth, and the long curved 
lines of darker tinge tiiat streaked the red followed 
the rounded line of the slope at the top. Far above, 
yet overhanging, were great yellow crags and peaks, 
and between these, still higher, showed the pine- 
frin^d slope of Navajo'Mountain with snow in the 
sheltered places, and glistening streams, like silver 
tlireads, running down. 

All this ShefEord noticed as he entered the valley 
from round a comer of wall. Upon nearer view he 
saw and heard a host of children, who, looking up to 
see the intruders, scattered like frightened quail. 
Long gray grass covered the ground, and here and 



X.oo^k 



rut RAINBOW TRAIL 

there wide, smooth paths had been worn. A swift 
and murmuring brook ran through the middle o£ the 
valley, and its banks were bordered with flowers. 

Withers led the way to one side near the wall, 
where a clump of cedar-trees and a dark, swift spring 
boiling out of the rocks and banks of amber moss 
with purple blossoms made a beautiful camp site. 
Here the mustangs were unsaddled and turned loose 
without hobbles. It was certainly unlikely that 
they would leave such a spot. Some of the burros 
■ were unpadced, and the others Withers drove c^ 
into the village. 

"Sure's pretty nice," said Joe, wiping his sweaty 
face. "I'U never want to leave. It suits me to lie 
on this moss Take a drink of that spring." 

Sh^ord complied with alacrity and found the 
water cool and sweet, and he seemed to feel it all 
through him. Then he returned to the mossy bank. 
He did not reply to Joe. In fact, all his faculties 
were absorbed in watching and feeling, and he lay 
there long after Joe went off to the village. The 
murmur of water, the hum of bees, the songs of 
strange birds, the sweet, warm air, the dreamy 
summer somnolence of the valley — all these added 
drowsiness to SheSord's weary lassitude, and he fell 
asleep. When he awoke Nas Ta Bega was sitting 
near him and Joe was busy near a camp-fire. 

' ' Hello, Nas Ta Bega I' ' said Shefford. * ' Was there 
any one trailing us?" 

The Navajo nodded. 

Joe raised his head and with forceful brevity said, 
"Shadd." 

"Shadd!" echoed Shefford, remembering the dark, 



ON THE TRAIL 

dnister £ace of his visitor that night in the Sagi. 
"Joe, is it serious — his trailing us?" 

' 'Well, I dcMi't know how dum serious it is, but I'm 
scared to death," replied Lake. "He and his gang 
will hold us up somewhere on the way home." 

Shefford regarded Joe with boUi concern and 
doubt. Joe's words were at variance with his looks. 

"Say, pard, can you shoot a rifle?" queried Joe. 

"Yes. I'm a fair shot at targets." 

The Mormon nodded his head as if pleased. 
"That's good. These outlaws are all poor shots 
wit^ a rifle. So'm I. But I can handle a six- 
footer. I reckon we'll make Shadd sweat if he 
pushes us." 

Withers returned, driving the burros, all of which 
had been unpacked down to the saddles. Two gray- 
bearded men accompanied him. One of them ap- 
peared to be very old and venerable, and walked 
with a stick. The other had a sad-lined face and 
kind, mild blue eyes. Shefford observed that Lake 
seemed unusually respectful. Withers introduced 
these Mormons merely as Smith and Henninger. 
They were very cordial and pleasant in their greet- 
ings to Shefford. Presently another, somewhat 
younger, man joined the group, a stalwart, jovial 
fellow with ruddy face. There was certainly no 
mistaking his Idndly welcome as he shook Shefford's 
hand. His name was Beal. The three stood round 
the camp-fire for a while, evidently glad of the 
presence of fellow-men and to hear news from the 
outside. Finally they went away, taking Joe with 
them. Withers took up the task of getting supper 
where Joe had been made to leave it. 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"Shefford, listen," he said, presently, as he knelt 
before the fire. "I told them right out that you'd 
been a Gentile clergyman — that you'd gone back 
on your religion. It impressed tiiem and you've 
been well received. I'll tell the same thii^ over at 
Stonebridge. You'll get in right. Of course I don't 
expect they'll make a Mormon of you. But they'll 
try to. Meanwhile you can be square and friendly 
all the time you're trying to find your Fay Larkin. 
To-morrow you'll meet some of the women. They're 
good souls, but, like any women, crazy for news. 
Think what it is to be shut up in here between these 
walls!" 

"Withers, I'm intensely interested," replied Shef- 
ford, "and excited, too. Shall we stay here long?" 

"I'll stay a couple of days, then go to Stonebridge 
with Joe. He'll come back here, and when you 
both feel like leaving, and if Nas Ta Bega thinks it 
safe, you'll take a trail over to some Indian hogans 
and pack me out a load of skins and blankets. . . . 
My boy, you've all the time there is, and I wish you 
luck. This isn't a bad place to loaf. I always get 
sentimental over here. Maybe it's the women. 
Someof them are pretty, and one of them— SheflEord, 
tiiey call her the Sago Lily. Her first name is Maiy , 
I'm told. Don't know her last name. She's lovely. 
And I'll bet you forget Fay Larkin in a flash. Only 
— be careful. You drop in here with rather peculiar 
credentials, so to speak — as my helper and as a man 
with no religion I You'll not only be fully trusted, 
but you'll be welcome to these lonely women. So 
be careful. Remember it's my secret belief they 
are sealed wives and are vidted occasionally at night 
84 



ON THE TRAIL 

by their husbands. I don't know this, but I believe 
it. And you're not supposed to dream of that." 

"How many men in the village?" asked SheSord. 

"Three. You met them." 

"Have tJiey wives?" asked Shefford, curiously. 

"Wives! Well, I guess. But only erne each that 
I know of. Joe Lake is the only tmmarried Mormon 
I've met." 

"And no men — strangers, cowboys, outlaws — ever 
come to this village?" 

"Except to Indians, it seems to be a secret so far," 
replied the trader, earnestly. "But it can't be kept 
secret. I've said that time after time over in 
Stonebridge. With Mormons it's 'suflScient unto 
the day is the evil thereof.'" 

"What '11 happen when outsiders do learn and 
ride in here?" 

"There'll be trouble — maybe bloodshed. Mor- 
mon women are absolutely good, but they're human, 
and want and need a little life. And, strange to 
say. Mormon men are pig-headedly jealous. . . . 
WTiy, if some of the cowboys I knew in Durango 
would ride over here there'd simply be hell. But 
that's a long way, and probably this village will be 
deserted before news of it ever reaches Colorado. 
There's more danger of Shadd and his gang coming 
in. Shadd's half Piute. He must know of this 
place. And he's got some white outlaws in his 
gang. . . . Come on. Grub's ready, and I'm too 
hungry to talk." 

Later, when shadows began to gather in the valley 

and the lofty peaks above were gold in the sunset 

glow, Withers left camp to look after the straying 

8S 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

mustangs, and SheSord strolled to and fro under the 
<«dars. Thss lights and shades in the Sagi tiiat 
first night had moved him to enthusiastic watch- 
fulness, but here they were so weird and beautiful 
that he was enraptured. He actually saw great 
shafts of g<dd and shadows of piu~ple streaming from 
the peaks down into the valley. It, was day on liie 
heists and twili^t in the valley. The swiftly 
changing colors were like rainbows. 

While he stroUed up and down several women 
came to the spring and filled their buckets. They 
wore shawls or hoods and their garments were som- 
ber, but, nevertheless, they appeared to have youth 
and comeliness. They saw him, looked at him 
curiously, and then, without speaking, went back on 
the well-trodden path. Presently down the path 
appeared a woman — a girl in lighter garb. It was 
almost white. She was shapely and walked with 
free, graceful step, reminding him of the Indian girl. 
Glen Naspa. This one wore a hood ^laped like a 
huge sunbonnet and it concealed her face. She car- 
ried a bucket. When she reached the spring and went 
down the few stone steps Shefford saw that she did 
not have on shoes. As she braced hOTself to lift the 
bucket her bare foot clung to the mossy stone. 
It was a stroi^, sinewy, beautiful foot, instinct with 
youth. He was curious enough, he thought, but 
the awakening artist in him made him more so. She 
dragged at the full bucket and had difEculty in 
lifting it out of the hole. Shefford strode forward 
and took the bucket-handle from her. 

"Won't you let me help you?" he said, .lifting the 
bucket. "Indeed — it's very heavy." 
S6 



i„Goo^lc 



ON THE TRAIL 

"Oh — ^thank you," she said, without raisicg her 
head. Her voice seemed singularly young and sweet. 
He had not heard a voice like it. She moved down 
the path and he walked beside her. He felt em- 
barrassed, yet more curious than ever; he wanted 
to say something, to turn and look at her, but he 
kept on for a dozen paces without making up his 
mind. , 

Finally he said: "Do you really carry this heavy 
bucket? Why, it makes my arm ache." 

"Twice every day — morning and evening," she 
replied. "I'm very strong." 

Then he stole a look out of the comer of his eye, 
and, seeing that her face was hidden from him by 
the hood, he turned to observe her at better ad- 
vantage. A lor^ braid ctf hair htmg down her back. 
In the twilight it gleamed dull gold. She came up 
to his shoulder. The sleeve nearest him was rolled 
up to her elbow, revealing a fine round arm. Her 
hand, like her foot, was brown, strong, and well 
shaped. It was a hand that had been developed by 
labor. She was fuU-bosomed, yet slender, and she 
walked with a free stride that made SheSord admire 
and wonder. 

They passed several of the Httle stone and log 
houses, and women greeted them as they went by, 
and children peered shyly from the doors. He kept 
trying to think of something to say, and, failing in 
that, determined to have one good look under the 
hood before he left her. 

"You walk lame," she said, soUdtously. "Let 
me carry the bucket now — please. My house is 
near." 

7 87 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"Am I lame? . . . Guess so, a little," he replied. 
"It was a hard ride for me. But I'll carry the 
budget just the same." 

They went on under some pifion-trees, down a 
path to a little house identical with the others, 
except that it had a stone porch. SheSord smelled 
fragrant wood-smoke and saw a column curling 
from the low, flat, stone chimney. Then he set the 
bucket down cm the porch. 

"Thank you, Mr. Shefford,*' she said. 

"You know my name?" he asked. 

' ' Yes. Mr. Withers spoke to my nearest ndghbor 
and she told me." 

"Oh, I see. And you — " 

He did not go on and she did not reply. When 
she stepped upon the porch and turned he was able 
to see imder the hood. Hie face there was in 
shadow, and for that very reason he answered to 
ungovernable impulse and took a step closer to her. 
Dark, grave, sad eyes looked down at him, and he 
felt as if he could never draw his own ^ance away. 
He seemed not to see the rest of her face, and yet 
felt that it was lovely. Then a downward move- 
ment of the hood hid from him the strange eyes 
and the shadowy loveliness. 

"I — I beg your pardon," he said, quickly, draw- 
ing back. "I'm rude. . . . Withers told me about a 
girl he called — ^he said looked like a s^o-hly. 
That's no excuse to stare under your hood. But 
I — I was ciuious. I wondered if — " 

He hesitated, realizing how foolish his talk was. 
She stood a moment, probably watching him, but 
he could not be sure, for her face was hidden. 



ON THE TRAIL 

"They call me that," she said. "But my name is 
Mary." 

"Mary — ^what?" he asked. 

"Just Mary," she said, simply. "Good night." 

He did not say good night and could not have 
told why. She took up the bucket and went into 
the dark house. Shefford hurried away into the 
gathering darkness. 



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VI 

IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY 

SHEFFORD had hardly seen her face, yet he was 
more interested in a woman than he had ever 
been before. Still, he reflected, as he returned to 
camp, he had been tmder a long strain, he was unduly 
excited by this new and adventurous life, and these, 
with the mystery of this village, were perhaps ac- 
countable for a state of mind that could not last. 

He rolled in his blankets on the soft bed of moss 
and he saw the stars through the needle-like fringe 
of the pifions. It seemed impossible to fall asleep. 
The two domed pealcs split the sky, and bade of 
them, looming dark and shadowy, rose the mountain. 
There was something cold, austere, and majestic 
in their lofty presence, and they made him feel alone, 
yet not alone. He raised himself to see the quiet 
forms of Withers and Nas Ta Bega prone in the star- 
light, and their slow, deep breathing was that of 
tired men. A bell on a mustang rang somewhere 
off in the valley and gave out a low, strange, re- 
verberating echo from wall to wall. When it ceased 
a silence set in that was deader than any silence he 
had ever felt, but gradually he became aware of the 
low miumur erf the brook. For the rest there was 



IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY 

no sound of wind, no bark of dog or yelp of coyote, 
no sound of voice in the village. 

He tried to sleep, but instead thought' of this girl 
who was called the Sago Lily. He recalled every- 
thing incident to their meeting'and the walk to her 
home. Her swift, free step, her graceful poise, her 
shapely form — ^the long braid of hair, dull gold in 
the tw^ght, the beautiful bare foot and the strong 
round arm — these he thought of and recalled vividly. 
But of her face he had no idea except the shadowy, 
haunting lovdiness, and that grew more and more 
difficult to remanber. The tone of her voice and 
what she had said — how the one had thrilled him 
and the other mystified! It W£is her voice that had 
most attracted him. There was something in it 
beades muac — what, he could not tell — sadness, 
depth, something like that in Nas Ta Bega's — a 
beauty springing from disuse. But this seemed 
absurd. Why should he imagine her voice one that 
had not been used as freely as any other woman's? 
She was a Mormon; very likely, almost surely, she 
was a sealed wife. His interest, too, was absurd, 
and he tried to throw it off, or imagine it one he 
might have felt in any other of these strange women 
of the hidden village. 

But ShefEord's intelligence and his good sense, 
which became operative when he was fully roused 
and set the situation clearly before his eyes, had no 
^ect upon his deeper, mystic, and primitive feel- 
ings. He saw the trulii and he felt something that 
he could not name. He would not be a fool, but 
there was no harm in dreaming. And unquestion- 
ably, b^ond all doubt, the dream and the romance 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

that had lured him to the wilderness were here, 
haaging over him like the shadows of the great peaks. 
His heart swelled with emotion when he thought 
of how the black and incessant despair of the past 
was gone. So he embraced any attraction that 
made him forget and think and feel; some instinct 
stronger than intelligence bade him drift. 

Joe's rolling voice awoke him next morning and 
he rose with a singula^zest. "When or where in his 
life bad he awakened in such a beautiful place? 
Almost he understood why Venters and Bess had 
been haunted by memories of Surprise Valley. The 
morning was clear, cool, sweet ; the peaks were dim 
and soft in rosy cloud; sbiifts of golden sunlight 
shot down into the purple shadows. Mocking-birds 
were silking. H^ body was sore and tired from the 
unaccustomed travel, but his heart was full, happy. 
His spirit wanted to run, and he knew there was 
something out there waiting to meet it. The Indian 
and the trader and the Mormon all meant more to 
him this morning. He had grown a little ovemi^t. 
Nas Ta Bega's deep "Bi Nai" rang in his ears, and 
the smiles of Withers and Joe were greetings. He 
had friends; he had work; and there was rich, 
strange, and helpful Ufe to live. There was ev«i 
a difference in the mustang Nack-yal. He came 
readily; he did not look wild; he had a friendly 
eye; and SheSord liked him more. 

"What is there to do?'.' asked SheSord, feeling 
equal to a hundred tasks. 

"No work," replied the trader, with a laugh, and 
he drew Shefford aside. "I'm in no hurry. Ilikeit 



IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY 

here. And Joe never wants to leave. To-day you 
can meet the women. Make yourself popular. I've 
already made you that. These women are most all 
young and lonesome. Talk to them. Make them 
like you. Then some day you may be safe to ask 
questions. Last night I wanted to ask old Mother 
Smith if she ever heard the name Fay Larkin. But 
I thought better of it. It there's a girl here or at 
Stonebridge of that name we'll learn it. If there's 
mystery we'd better go slow. Mormons are hell on 
secret and mystery, and to pry into their affairs 
is to queer yourself. My advice is — just be as nice 
as you can be, and let things happen." 

Fay Larkin I All in a night Shafford had forgotten 
her. Why? He pondered over the matter, and 
then the old thrill, the old desire, came back. 

"Shefford, what do you think Nas Ta Bega said 
to me last night?" asked Withers in lower voice. 

"Haven't any idea," replied SheEEord, curiously. 

"We were ^tting beside the fire. I saw you 
walking under the cedars. You seemed thoughtful. 
That keen Indian watched you, and he said to me in 
Navajo, 'Bi Nai has lost his God. He has come far 
to find a wife. Nas Ta B^a is his brother.' . . . 
He meant he'll find both God and wife for you. ' I 
don't know about that, but I say take the Indian as 
he thinks he is — your brother. Long before I knew , 
Nas Ta Bega well my wife used to tell me about 
him. He's a sage and a poet — the very spirit of 
this desert. He's worth cultivating for Hs own 
sake. But more — remember, if Fay Larkin is still 
shut in that valley the Navajo will find her for 
you." 



DigliMbvGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"I shall take Nas Ta Bega as my brother — and 
be proud," replied ShefEord. 

"There's another thing. Do you intend to con- 
fide in Joe?" 

"I hadn't thought of that." 

"Well, it might be a good plan. But wait until 
you know him better and he knows you. He's ready 
to fight for you now. He's taken your trouble to 
heart. You wouldn't think Joe is deeply religious. 
Yet he is. He may never breathe a word about 

religion to you Now, Shefford, go ahead. You've 

struck a trail. It's rough, but it '11 make a man of 
you. It '11 lead somewhere." 

"I'm singularly fortunate — ^I — ^who had lost all 
friends. Withers, I am grateful. I'll prove it. I'll 
show — " 

Withers's upheld hand checked further speech, and 
ShefEord realized that beneath the rough exterior of 
this desert trader there was fine feeling. These men 
of crude tpit and wild surroundings were beginning 
to loom up large in SheSord's mind. 

The day began leisurely. The men were yet at 
breakfast when the women of the village began 
to come one by one to the spring. Joe Lake made 
friendly and joking remarks to each. And as each 
one passed on down the path he poised a biscuit 
in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, and 
with his head cocked sidewise like an owl he said, 
"Reckon I've got to get me a woman like her." 

ShefEord saw and heard, yet he was all the time 
half imconsciously watching with strange eagerness 
for a white figure to appear. At last he saw her — 
the same girl with the hood, the same swift step. A 



IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY 

little shock or qtiiver passed over him, and at the 
moment all that was explicable about it was some- 
thing associated with regret. 

Joe I-ake whistled and stared. 

"I haven't met her," he muttered. 

"That's the Sago Lily," said Withers. 

"Reckon I'm going to carry that budget," went 
on Joe. 

"And queer yourself with all the other wom«i 
who've been to the spring? Don't do it, Joe," 
advised the trader. 

"But her bucket's bigger," protested Joe, weakly. 

"That's true. But you ought to know Mormons. 
If she'd come first, all ri^t. As she didn't — why, 
don't single her out." 

Joe kept his seat. The gjrl came to the spring. 
A low "good morning" came from under the hood. 
Then she filled her bucket and started home. Shef- 
ford observed that this time she wore moccasins 
and she carried the heavy bucket with ease. When 
she disappeared he had again the vague, inexplicable 
sensation of regret. 

Joe Lake breathed heavily. "Reckon I've got 
to get me a woman like her," he said. But the 
former jocose tone was lacking and he appeared 
thoi^htful. 

Withers first took Sh^ord to the building used 
for a school. It was somewhat larger than the other 
houses, had only one room with two doors and 
several windows. It was full of children of all 
sizes and ages, sitting on rude board benches. 

There were half a hundred of them, sturdy, 
95 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

healthy, rosy boys and girls, clad in home-made 
garments. The yotmg woman teadier was as em- 
barrassed as her pupils were shy, and the visitors 
withdrew without having heard a word of lessons. 

Withers then called up<m Smith, Henninger, and 
Beal, and their wives. Shefford foimd himself cor- 
dially received, and what little he did say showed 
him how he would be listened to when he cared to 
talk. These folk were plain Mid kindly, and he 
foimd that there was nothing about them to dislike. 
The men appeared mild and quiet, and when not 
conversing seemed austere. The repose of the 
women was only on the surface; underneath he felt 
their intensity. Especially in many of the younger 
women, whom he met in the succeeding hour, did 
he feel this power of restrained emotion. This sur- 
prised him, as did also the fact that almost every one 
of them was attractive and some of them were 
exceedingly pretty. He became so interested in 
them all as a whole that he could not individualize 
one. Th^ were as widely different in appearance 
and temperament as women of any other class, but 
it seemed to SfaefEoid that one common trait tmited 
them — and it was a strange, checlad yearning for 
something that he could not discover. Was it hap- 
piness? Tliey certainly seemed to be happy, far 
more so than those nailUons of women who were 
chasing phantoms. Were they really sealed wives, 
as Withers beHeved, and was this unnatural wife- 
hood responsible for the strange intensity? At any 
rate he returned to camp with the conviction that 
he had stumbled upon a remarkable situation. 

He had been told the last names of only three 

96 



X.oo^k 



IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY 

women, and their husbands were in the village. The 
names of the others were Ruth, Rebecca, Joan — ^he 
could not recall them all. They were the mothers of 
these beautiful children. The fathers, as far as he 
was concerned, were as intangible as myths. Shef- 
ford was an educated clergyman, a man of the world, 
and, as such, knew women in his way. Mormons 
might be strange and different, yet the fimdamental 
truth was that all over the wco'ld mothers of children 
were wives; there was a relation between wife and 
mother that did not, need to be named to be felt; 
and he divined from this that, whatever the situation 
of these lonely and hidden women, they knew them- 
selves to be wives. Shefford absolutely satisfied 
himself on that score. If they were miserable they 
certainly did not show it, and the question came to 
him how just was the criticism of uninformed men? 
His judgment of Mormons had been established by 
what he had heard and read, rather than what he 
knew. He wanted now to have an open mind. 
He had studied the totemism and exogamy of the 
prinutive races, and here was his opportunity to 
understand polygamy. One wife for one man — ^that 
was the law. Mormons broke it openly; Gentiles 
broke it secretly. Mormons acknowledged all their 
wives and protected their children; Gentiles ac- 
knowledged one wife only. Unquestionably the 
Mormons were wrong, but were not the Gentiles 
still more wrong? 

The following day Joe Lake appeared reluctant 
to start for Stonebridge with Withers. 

"Joe, you'd better come along," said the trader. 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

dryly. "I reckon you've seen a little too mudi of the 
Sago Lily." 

Lalce offered no reply, but it was evident from his 
sober face that Withers had not hit short of the 
mark. Withers rode off, with a parting word to 
Si^ord, and finally Joe scmiberly mounted his bay 
and trotted down tie valley. As Nas Ta Bega had 
gone off somewhere' to visit Indians, Shefford was 
left alone. 

He went into the village and made himself 
useful and agreeable. He made friends with the 
children and he talked to the women until he 
was hoarse. TTieir ignorance of the world was a 
spur to him, and never in his life had he had sudi 
an attentive audience. And as he showed no curi- 
osity, asl^ no difficult questions, gradually what 
reserve he had noted wore away, and the end of the 
day saw him on a footing witii them that Withers 
had predicted. 

By the time several Hke days had passed it seemed 
from the interest and friendliness of these women 
that he might have lived long among them. He 
was possessed of wit and eloquence and information, 
which he freely gave, and not with selfi^ motive. 
He liked these women; he liked to see the somber 
shade pass from their faces, to see them brighten. 
He had met the girl Mary at the spring and along the 
path, but he had not yet seen her face. He was 
always looking for her, hoping to meet her, and con- 
fessed to himself that the best of the day for him 
were the morning and evening visits she made to 
the spring. Nevertheless, for some reason hard to 
divine, he was reluctant to seek' her deliberately. 



X.oo^k 



IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY 

Always while he had listened to her neighbors' talk, 
he had hoped they might let fall something about 
her. But they did not. He received an impression 
that she was not so intimate with the others as he 
had supposed. They all made one big family. Still, 
she seraned a little outside. He could bring no 
proofs to strengthen this idea. He merely felt it, 
and many of his feelings were independent of in- 
telligent reason. Something had been added to 
curiosity, that was sure. 

It was his habit to call upon Mother Smith in the 
afternoons. Prom the first her talk to him hinted 
of a leaning toward thought of making him a Mor- 
mon. Her husband and the other men took up b^ 
cue and spoke of their religion, casually at first, but 
gradually opening their minds to free and simple 
(^scussion of their faith. Shefford lent respectful 
attention. He would rather have been a Mormon 
than an atheist, and apparently they considered him 
the latter, and were earnest to save his soul, Shef- 
ford knew that he could never be one any more than 
the other. He was just at sea. But he listened, and 
he found them simple in faith, bhnd, perhaps, but 
loyal and good. It was noteworthy that Mother 
Smith happened to be the only woman in the village 
who had ever mentioned religion to him. She was 
old, of a past generation; the young women belonged 
to the present. SheSord pondered the significant 
difference. 

Every day made more steadfast his impression of 

the great mystery that was like a twining shadow 

round these women, yet in the same time many little 

ideas shifted and many new characteristics became 

99 



Ctrt-i'jk 



TH.E RAINBOW TRAIL 

manifest. This last was of course the result d 
acquaintance; he was learning more about the 
villagers. He gathered from keen interpretation of 
subtle words and looks that here in this lonely vil- 
lage, the same as in all the rest of the world where 
women were together, there were cliques, quar- 
rels, dislikes, loves, and jealousies. The truth, once 
known to him, made him feel natural and fortified 
his confidence to meet the demands of an increas- 
ingly interesting position. He discovered, with a 
somewhat grim amusement, that a clergyman's 
experience in a church full of women had not been 
entirely useless. 

One afternoon he let fall a careless remark that was 
a subtle question in regard to the girl Mary, whom 
Withers called the Sago LUy. In response he re- 
ceived an answer couched in the sweet poisoned 
honey of woman's jealousy. He said no more. 
Certain ideas of his were strengthened, and straight- 
way he became thou^tful. 

That afternoon late, as he did his camp chores, 
he watched for her. But she did not come. Then 
he decided to go to see her. But even the decision 
and the strange thrill it imparted did not diange his 
reluctance. 

Twilight was darkening the valley when he reached 
her house, and the shadows were thick tmder the 
pinons. There was no Ught in the door or window. 
He saw a white shape on the porch, and as he came 
down the path it rose. It was the girl Mary, and 
she appeared startled. 

' ' Good evening, ' ' he said. ' ' It's Shefford. May I 
stay and talk a little while?" 



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IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY 

She was silent for so long that he began to feel 
awkward. 

"I'd be glad to have you," she replied, finally. 

There was a bench on the porch, but he preferred 
to sit upon a blanket on the step. 

"I've been getting acquainted with everybody — 
except you," he went on. 

"I have been here," she replied. 

That might have been a woman's speech, but it 
certainly had been made in a girl's voice. She was 
neither shy nor embarrassed nor self-conscious. As 
she stood back from him he could not see her face in 
the dense twilight. 

"I've been wanting to call on you." 

She made some slight movement. SheSord felt a 
strange calm, yet he knew the moment was big and 
potent. 

"Won't you sit here?" he asked. 

She complied with his wish, and then he saw her 
face, though dimly, in the twilight. And it struck 
him mute. But he had no glimpse such as had 
flashed upon him from under her hood that other 
night. He thought of a white flower in shadow, and 
received his first impression of the rare and perfect 
lily Withers had said graced the wild canons. She 
was only a girl. She sat very still, looking straight 
before her, and seemed to be waiting, listening. 
Sh^ord saw the quick rise and fall of her bosom. 

"I want to talk," he began, swiftly, hoping to put 
her at her ease. "Every one here has been good to 
me and I've talked — oh, for hours and hours. But 
the thing in my mind I haven't spoken of. I've nev- 
er asked any questions. That makes my part so 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

strange. I want to tell why I came out here. I 
need some one who will keep my secret, and perhaps 
help me. . . . Would you?" 

"Yes, if I could," ^e replied. 

"You see I've got to trust you, or one of these 
other women. You're all Monnons. I don't mean 
that's anything against you. I believe you're all 
good and noble. But the fact makes — well, makes 
a liberty of speech impossible. What can I do?" 

Her ^ence probably meant that she did not know. 
Sh^ord sensed less strain in her and more excite- 
ment. He believed he was on the right track and 
did not regret his impulse. Even had he regretted 
it he would have gone on, for opposed to caution and 
intelligence was his driving mystic force. 

Then he told her the truth about his boyhood, 
his ambition to be an artist, his renunciation to his 
father's hope, his career as a clergyman, his failure 
in religion, and the disgrace that had made him a 
wanderer. 

"Oh — I'm sorry I" she said. The faint starlight 
shone on her face, in her eyes, and if he ever saw 
beauty and soul he saw them then. She seemed 
deeply moved. She had forgotten herself. She be- 
trayed girlhood then — all the quick sympathy, the 
wonder, the sweetness of a heart innocent and un- 
tutored. She looked at him with great, starry, 
questioning eyes, as if they had just become aware 
of his presence, as if a man had been strange to her. 

"Thank you. It's good of you to be sorry," he 
said. "My instinct guided me right. Perhaps 
you'll be my friend." 

"I will be — if I can," she said. 



i„Goo^lc 



IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY 

"But can you be?" 

"I don't know. I never had a friend. I . . . 
But, sir, I mustn't talk of myself. . . . Oh, I'm afraid 
I can't help you." 

How strange the pathos of her voice! Ahnost he 
believed she was in need of help or sympathy or love. 
But he could not wholly trust a judgment formed 
from observation of a class different from hers. 

"Maybe you can help me. Let's see," he said. 
"I don't seek to make you talk of yourself. But 
— ^you're a human being — a girl — almost a woman. 
You're not dtmib. But even a nun can talk." 

"Antm? What is that?" 

"Well — a mm is a aster of mercy — a woman con- 
secrated to God — who has renounced the world. 
In some ways you Mormon women here resemble 
nuns. It is sacrifice that nails you in this lonely 
valley. . . . You see — ^how I talk! One word, one 
thought brings another, and I speak what perhaps 
should be tinsaid. And it's hard, because I feel I 
could unburden myself to you." 

"Tell me what you want," she said. 

Shefford hesitated, and becaiiie aware of the rapid 
pound of his heart. More than anything he wanted 
to be fair to this girl. He saw that she was warming 
to his influence. Her shadowy eyes were fixed upon 
him. The starHght, growing brighter, shone on her 
golden hair and white face. 

"I'll tell you presently," he said. "I've trusted 
you. I'll trust you with all. . . . But let me have 
my own time. This is so strange a thing, my want- 
ing to ixmfide in you. It's selfi^, perhaps. I have 
my own ax to grind. I hope I won't wrong you. 
% 103 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

That's why I'm goii^ to be perfectly frank. I might 
wait for days to get better acqiiainted. But the 
impulse is on me. I've been so interested in all you 
Mormon women. The fact — the meaning of this 
hidden village is so — so terrible to me. But that's 
none of my business.- I have spent my afternoons 
and evenings with these women at the different 
cottages. You do not mingle with them. They are 
lonely, but have not such loneliness as yours. I 
have passed here every night. No light — no sound. 
I can't help thinking. Don't censure me or be 
afraid or draw within yourself just because I must 
think. I may be all wrong. But I'm curious. I 
wonder about you. Who are you? Mary — Mary 
what? Maybe I really don't want to know. I came 
with selfish motive and now I'd like to — ^to — what 
shall I say? Make your life a little less lonely for 
the while I'm here. That's alL It needn't offend. 
And if you accept it, how much easier I can tell you 
my secret. You are a Mormon and I — well, I am 
oidy a wanderer in these wilds. But — we taig^t help 
each other. . . . Have I made a mistake?" 

"No — no," she cried, almost wildly. 

"We can be friends then. You will trust me, help 
me?" 

"Yes, if I dare." 

"Surely you may dare what the other women 
would?" 

She was silent. 

And the wistfulness of her silence touched him. 

He felt contrition. He did not stop to analyze his 

own emotions, but he had an inkling that once this 

strange situation was ended he would have food for 

104 



IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY 

reflection. What struck him most now was the 
girl's blanched face, the strong, nervous clasp of her 
hands, the visible tumult of her bosom. Excitement 
alone could not be accountable for this. He had not 
divined the cause for such agitation. He was puz- 
zled, troubled, and drawn irresistibly. He had not 
said what he had planned to say. The moment had 
given birth to his speech, and it had flowed. What 
was guiding him? 

"Mary," he said, earnestly, "tell me — ^have you 
mother, father, aster, brother? Something prompts 
me to g-glf that." 

"All dead — gone — years ago," she answered. 

"How old are you?" 

"Eighteen, I think. I'm not sure." 

"You are lonely," 

His words were gentle and divining. 

"O God!" she cried. "Lonely!" 

Then as a man in a dream he beheld her weq)ing. 
There was in her the unconsciousness of a child and 
the passion of a woman. He gazed out into the dark 
shadows and up at the white stars,< and then at the 
bowed head with its mass of glinting hair. But her 
agitation was no longer strange to him. A few gen- 
tle and kind words had proved her undoing. He 
knew then that whatever her life was, no kindness or 
sympathy entered it. Presently she recovered, and 
sat as brfore, only whiter of face it seemed, and 
with something tragic in her dark eyes. She was 
growing cold and stdll again, aloof, more like those 
other Mormon women. 

"I imderstand," he said. "I'm not sorry I spoke. 
I felt your trouble, whatever it is. ... Do not retreat 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

into your cold shell, I beg of yoti. . . . Let me trust 
you with my secret." 

He saw her shake out of the cold apathy. She 
wavered. He felt an inexplicable sweetness in the 
power his voice seemed to have upon her. She 
bowed her head in acquiescence. And Shefford be- 
gan his story. Did she grow still, like stone, or was 
that only his vivid imagination? He told her of 
Venters and Bess — of Lassiter and Jane — of little 
Fay Larldn — of the romance, and then the tragedy 
of Surprise Valley, 

"So, when my Church disowned me," he con- 
cluded, "I conceived the idea of wandering into the 
wilds of Utah to save Fay Larldn from that cafion 
prison. It grew to be the best and strongest desire 
of my life. I think if I could save her that it would 
save me. I never loved any girl. I can't say that 
I love Fay Larldn. How could I when I've never 
seen her — ^when she's only a dream girl? But I be- 
lieve if she were to become a reality — a flesh-and- 
blood girl — that I would love her." 

That was more than SheSord had ever confessed 
to any one, and it stirred him to his depths. Mary 
bent her head on her hands in strange, stonelike 
rigidity. 

"So here I am in the cafion cotmtry," he con- 
tinued. "Withers tells me it is a country of rain- 
bows, both in the evanescent air and in the changeless 
stone. Always as a boy there had been for me some . 
haunting promise, scane treasure at the foot of the 
rainbow. I shall expect the curve of a rainbow to 
lead me down into Surprise Valley. A dreamer, you 
will call me. But I have had strange dreams come 
io6 

„.„„,.Cooglc 



IN THE HIDDEN VALLEY 

true. . . . Mary, do you think this dream will come 
true?" 

She was silent so long that he r^>eated his 
question. 

"Only — in heaven," she whispered. 

He took her reply strangely and a chill crept over 
him. 

"You think my plan to seek to strive, to find — ^you 
t-hi-ntr that idle, vain?" 

' ' I think it noble. . . . Thank God I've met a man 
like you!" 

"Don't praise me!" he exclaimed, hastily. "Only 
help me. . . . Mary, will you answer a few little 
questions, if I swear by my honor I'll never reveal 
what you tell me?" 

"I'll try." 

He moistened his lips. Why did she seem so 
strange, so far away? Ilie hovering shadows made 
him nervous. Always he had been afraid of the 
dark. His mood now admitted of unreal fancies. 

"Have you ever heard of Fay Larkin?" he asked, 
very low. 

"Yes." 

"Was there only one Fay Larkin?" 

"Only one." 

"Did you — ever see her?" 

"Yes," came the faint reply. 

He was grateful. How she might be bre ak i n g 
faith with creed or duty ! He had not dared to hope 
so much. All his inner being trembled at the por- 
tent of his next query. He had not dreamed it 
would be so hard to put, or would afiEect him so 
powerfully. A warmth, a glow, a happiness per- 
107 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

vaded his spirit; and the chill, the gloom were as 
if they had never been. 

"^^lere is Fay T.nrifin now?" he asked, huskily. 

He bent over her, touched her, leaned close to 
catch her whisper. 

"She is — dead!" 

Slowly Sh^ord rose, with a sickening shock, and 
then in bitter pain he strode airay into the starlight. 



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VII 

SAGO-LUJBS 

THE Indian returned to camp that night, and 
early the next day, which was Sunday, Withers 
rode in, accompanied by a stout, gray-bearded per- 
sonage wearing a long black coat. 

"Bishop Kane, this is my new man, John Shef- 
ford," said the trader. 

Shefford acknowledged the introduction with the 
respectful courtesy evidently ia order, and found 
himself being studied intently by clear blue eyes. 
The bishop appeared old, dry, and absorbed in 
thought; he spoke quaintly, using in every speech 
some BibUcal word or phrase ; and he had an air of 
authority. He asked Shefford to hear him preach 
at the morning service, and then he went off into the 
village. 

"Guess he liked your looks," remarked Withers. 

"He certainly sized me up," replied Shefford. 

"Well, what could you expect? Sure I never 
heard of a deal like this — a handsome young fellow 
left alone with a lot of pretty Mormon women! 
You'll understand when you learn to know Mormons. 
Bishop Kane's a square old chap. Crazy on reUgion, 
maybe, but otherwise he's a good fdlow. I made 
the best stand I could for you. The Mormons over 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

at Stonebridge were huflEy because I hadn't consulted 
them before fetching you over here. If I had, of 
course ywi'd never have gotten here. It was Joe 
Lake who made it all right with them. Joe's well 
thou^t of, and he certainly stood up for you." 

"I owe him something, then," repUed Shefford. 
"Hope my obligations don't grow beyond me. Did 
you leave Joe at Stonebridge?" 

"Yes. He wanted to stay, and I had work there 
that '11 keep him awhile. SheEEord, we got news of 
Shadd — bad news. The half-breed's cutting up 
rot^h. Htts gang shot up some Piutes over here 
across the line. Then he got run out of Durango a 
few weeks ago for murder. A posse o£ cowboys 
trailed him. But he slipped them. He's a fox. 
You know he was trailing us here. He left the trail, 
Nas Ta Bega said. I learned at Stonebridge that 
Shadd is well disposed toward Mormons. It takes 
the Mormons to handle Indians. Shadd knows of 
this village and that's why he shunted off our trail. 
But he might hang down in the pass and wait for 
us. I think I'd better go back to Kayenta alone, 
across country. You stay here till Joe and the 
Indian think it safe to leave. You'll be going up on 
the slope of Navajo to load a pack-train, and frofn 
there it may be well to go down West CafLon to Red 
Lake, and home over the divide, the way you came. 
Joe '11 decide what's best. And you mi^t as well 
buckle on a gun and get used to it. Sooner or later 
you'll have to shoot your way through." 

Shefford did not respond with his usual enthudasm, 
and the Mnisaon caused the trader to scrutinize him 



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SAGO-LILIES 

"What's the matter?" he queried. "There's no 
light in your eye to-day. You look a Httle shady." 

"I didn't rest well last night," replied Shefford. 
"I'm depressed this morning. But I'll cheer up 
directly." 

"Did you get along with the women?" 

"Very well indeed. And I've enjoyed myself. 
It's a strange, beautiful place." 

"Do you like the women?" 

"Yes." 

"Have you seen much of the Sago Lily?" 

"No. I carried her bucket one night — and saw 
her only once again. I've been with the other women 
most of the time." 

"It's just as well you didn't run often into Mary, 
Joe's sick over her. I never saw a girl with a face and 
form to equal hers. There's danger here for any 
man, Shefford. Even for you who think you've 
turned your back on the world ! Any of these Mor- 
mon women may fall in love with you. They can't 
love their husbands, lliat's how I figure it. Re- 
ligion holds them, not love. And the peculiar thing 
is this: they're second, third, or foyrth wives, all 
sealed. That meas^ their husbands are old, have 
picked them out for youth and physical charms, have 
chosen the very opposite to their &rst wives, and then 
have hidden them here in this lonely hole. . . . Did 
you ever imagine so terrible a thing?" 

"No, Withers, I did not," 

"Maybe that's what depressed you. Anyway, my 
hunch is worth taking. Be as nice as you can, 
Shefford. Lord knows it would be good for these 
poor women if every last one of them fell in love with 



X.oo^k 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

you. That won't hurt them so long as you keep 
your head. Savvy? Perhaps I seem rough and 
coarse to a man of your class. Well, that may be. 
But human nature is human nature. And in this 
strange and beautiful place you might love an 
Indian girl, let alone the Sago Lily. That's all. I 
sure feel better with that load oS my conscience. 
Hope I don't offend." 

"No indeed. I thant you, Withers," replied 
Shefford, with his hand on the trader's shoulder. 
"You are right to caution me. I seem to be wild — 
thirsting for adventure — chasing a gleam. In these 
unstable days I can't answer for my heart. But I 
can for my honor. These imfortunate women are 
as safe with me as — as they are with you and 
Joe." 

Withers uttered a blunt lai^h. 

"See here, son, look things square in the eye. 
Men of violent, lonely, toilsome lives store up hunger 
for the love of woman. Love of a strange woman, if 
you want to put it that way. It's nature. It seems 
all the beautiful young women in Utah are corralled 
in this valley. When I come over here I feel natural, 
■ but I'm not nappy, I'd like to make love to — to 
that fiower-f aced girl. And I'm not ashamed to own 
it. I've told MoUy, my wife, and she imderstands. 
As for Joe, it's much harder for him. Joe never has 
had a wife or sweetheart. I tell you he's sick, and 
if I'd stay here a month I'd be sick." 

Withers had spoken with fire in his eyes, with grim 
hiunor on his lips, with uncompromising brutal 
truth. What he admitted was astounding to Shef- 
ford, but, once spoken, not at all strange. The 



A.ioglc 



SAGO-LILIES 

trader was a man who spoke his inmost thought. 
And what he said suddenly focused ShrfEord's mental 
vision dear and whole upon the appalling significance 
of the tragedy of those women, especially of the girl 
whose life was lonelier, sadder, darker liian that of 
the others. 

"Withers, trust me," replied Shefford. 

"All right. Make the best of a bad job," said 
the trader, and went off about his tasks. 

SheflEord and Withers attended the morning ser- 
vice, which was held in the school-house. Exclusive 
of the children every inhabitant of the village was 
there. The women, except the few eldest, were 
dressed in white and looked exceedingly well. 
Manifestly they had bestowed care upon this 
Sabbath morning's toilet. One thing surely this 
dress occasion brought out, and it was evidence that 
the Mormon women were not poor, whatever their 
misfortimes might be. Jewelry was not wanting, nor 
fine lace. And they all wore beautiful wild flowers 
of a kind unknown to Shefford. He received many a 
bright smile. He looked for Mary, hoping to see her 
face for the first time in the dayUght, but she sat 
far forward and did not turn. He saw her graceful 
white neck, the fine lines of her throat, and her 
colorless cheek. He recognized her, yet in the Ught 
she seemed a stranger. 

The service began with a short prayer and was fol- 
lowed by the singing of a hymn. Nowhere had 
Sh^ord heard better music or sweeter voices. How 
deeply they affected him ! Had any man ever fallen 
Into a stranger adventure than this? He had only to 
"3 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

shut his eyes to believe it all a creation of his fancy — 
the square log cabin with its red mud between the 
chinks and a roof like an Indian hogan — the old 
bishop in his black coat, standing solemnly, his hand 
beating time to the tune — ^the few old women, digni- 
fied and stately — ^the many young women, fresh and 
handsome, lifting their voices. 

Shefford listened intently to the bishop's sermon. 
In some respects it was the best he had ever heard. 
In others it was impossible for an intelligent man to 
regard seriously. It was very long, lasting an hour 
and a half, and the parts that were helpful to Shef- 
ford came from the experience and wisdom of a man 
who had grown old in the desert. The phyacal 
things that had molded characters of iron, the ob- 
stacles that only strong, patient men could have 
overcome, the making of homes in a wilderness, 
showed the greatness of this alien band of Mormons. 
Shefford conceded greatness to them. But the 
strange religion — the narrowing down of the world 
to the soil of Utah, the intimations of prophets on 
earth who had direct converse with God, the aus- 
tere self-conscious omnipotence of this old bishop — 
these were matters that Shefford felt he must imder- 
stand better, and see more favorably, if he were not 
to consider them impossible. 

Immediately after the service, forgetting that his 
intention had been to get the long-waited-for look 
at Mary in the light of the sun, Shefford hurried 
back to camp and to a secluded spot among the 
cedars. Strikingly it had come to him that the 
fault he had found in Gentile reUgion he now found 
in the Mormon religion. An old question returned 



SAGO-LILIES 

to haunt Tiim — were all religions the same in blind- 
ness ? As far as he could see, religion existed to up- 
hold the founders of a Church, a creed. The Church 
of his own Iqnd was a place where narrow men and 
women went to think of their own salvation. They 
did not go there to think of others. And now 
Shefford's keen mind saw something of Mormonism 
and found it wanting. Bishop Kane was a sincere, 
good, mistaken man. He believed what he preached, 
but that would not stand logic. He taught blind- 
ness and mostly it appeared to be directed at the 
women. Was liiCTe no religion divorced from power, 
no religion as good for one man as another, no re- 
ligion in the spirit of brotherly love? Nas Ta Bega's 
"Bi Nai" (brother) — that was love, if not reUgioo, 
and perhaps the one and the other were the same. 
Shefford kept in mind an intention to ask Nas Ta 
Bega what he thought of the Mormons. 

Later, when opportimity afforded, he did speak 
to the Indian. Nas Ta Bega threw away his 
cigarette and made an impressive gesture that con- 
veyed as much sorrow as scorn. 

"The first Mormon said God spoke to him and 
told him to go to a certain place and dig. He went 
there and found the Book of Mormon. It said 
follow me, marry many wives, go into the desert 
and multiply, send yotu: sons out into the world and 
bring us young women, many young women. And 
when the first Mormon became strong with many 
followers he said again: Give to me part of your 
labor — of your cattle and sheep — of your silver — that 
I may buUd me great cathedrals for you to worship 
in. And I will comtnime with God and make it 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

right and good that you have more wives. That is 
what the bishop preached. That is Mormonism." 

"Nas Ta Bega, you mean the Mormons are a 
great and good people blindly following a leader?" 

".Yes. And the leader builds for himself — not for 
them." 

"That is not religion. He has no God but him- 
self." 

"They have no God. . They are blind like the 
Molds who have the creeping growths on their eyes. 
They have no God they can see and hear and feel, 
who is with them day and night." 

It was late in the afternoon when Bishop Kane 
rode through the camp and halted on his way to 
speak to Shefford. He was kind and fatherly. 

"Yoimg man, are you open to faith?" he ques- 
ticmed, gravely. 

"I think I am," replied Shefford, thankful he 
could answer readily. 

"Then come into the fold. You are a lost sheep. 
'Away on the desert I heard its cry.' . . . God bless 
you. Visit me when you ride to Stonebridge." 

He flicked his horse with a cedar branch and 
trotted away beside the trader, and presently the 
green-choked neck of the valley hid them from view. 
Shefford could not have said liiat he was glad to be 
left behind, and yet neither was he sorry. 

That Sabbath evening as he sat quietly with 
Nas Ta Bega, watching the sunset gilding the peaks, 
he was visited by three of the young Mormon women 
— ^Ruth, Joan, and Hester, TTiey deliberately sought 
him and merrily led him off to the village and to the 
evening service of singing and prayer. Afterward 
ii6 



,o.^lc 



SAGO-LILIES 

he was surrounded and made much of. He had 
been popular before, but this was different. When 
he thoughtfully wended bis way campward under 
the quiet stai^ he realized that the coming of Bishop 
Kane had made a subtle change in the women. That 
change was at first hard to define, but from every 
point by which he approached it he came to the same 
conclusion — ^the bishop had not objected to his 
presence in the village. The women became natural, 
free, and unrestrained. A dozen or twenty young 
and attractive women thrown much into companion- 
ship with one man. He might become a Mormon. 
The idea made him laugh. But upon reflection it 
was not funny; it sobered him. What a sitiiation! 
He felt instinctively that he ought to fly from this 
hidden valley. But he could not have done it, even 
had he not been in the trader's employ. The thing 
was provokingly seductive. It was like an Arabian 
Nights' tale. What would these strange, fatally 
bound women do? Would any one of them become 
involved in sweet toils such as were possible to him? 
He was no fool. Already eyes had flashed and lips 
had smiled. 

A thousand like thoughts whirled through his 
mind. And when he had calmed down somewhat 
two things were not lost upon him — an intricate and 
fascinating situation, vnth no end to its possibilities, 
threatened and attracted him — and the certainty 
tiiat, whatever chaise the bishop had inaugurated, 
it had made these poor women happier. The latter 
fact weighed more with Shefford than fears for him- 
self. His word was given to Withers. He would 
have felt just the same without having bound him- 
117 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

self. Still, in the light of the trader's blunt philos- 
ophy, and of his own assurance that he was no fool, 
Shefford felt it incumbent upon him to accept a 
belief that there were situations no man could resist 
without an anchor. The ingenuity of man could 
not have devised a stranger, a more enticing, a more 
overpoweringly fatal situation. Fatal in that it 
could not be left untried! SheSord gave in and 
chcked his teeth as he let himself go. And suddenly 
he thought of her whom these bitter women called 
the Sago Lily, 

The regret that had been his returned with 
thought of her. The saddest disillusion of his life, 
the keenest disappointm^it, the strangest pain, 
would always be associated with her. He had 
meant to see her face once, dear in the sunlight, so 
that he could always remember it, and then never 
go near her again. And now it came to him that 
if he did see much of her these other women would 
find him like the stone wall in the valley. Folly! 
Perhaps it was, but she would be safe, maybe 
happier. When he decided, it was certain that he 
trembled. 

Then he buried the memory of Fay Larkin. 

Next day Shefford threw himself with all the boy 
left in him into the work and play of the village. 
He helped the women and made games for the 
children. And he talked or listaied. In the early 
evening he called on Ruth, chatted awhile, and 
went cm to see Joan, and from her to another. 
When the valley became shrouded in darkness he 
went imseen down the path to Mary's lonely home. 

She was there, a white shadow against the black. 
ii8 



SAGO-LILIES 

When she replied to his greeting her voice seemed 
full, brdcen, eager to express something that would 
not come. She was happier to see him than she 
should have been, SheSord thought. He talked, 
swiftly, eloquently, about whatever he believed 
would interest hw. He stayed long, and finally 
left, not having seen her face except in pale star- 
light and shadow; and the strong dasp of her hand 
remained with him as he went away under the 
pifions. 

Days passed swiftly. Joe Lake did not return. 
The Indian rode in and out of camp, watered and 
guarded the pack-burros and the mustangs. Shef- 
ford grew strong and active. He made garden for 
the women; he cut cords of fire- wood; he dammed 
the brod£ and made an irrigation ditch ; he learned 
to love these fatherless children, and they loved him. 

In the afternoons there was leisure for him and 
for the women. He had no favorites, and let the 
occasion dedde what he should do and with whom 
he should be. They had little parties at the cot- 
tagjBS and picnics under the cedars. He rode up and 
down the valley with Ruth, who could ride a horse 
as no other girl he had ever seen. He climbed with 
Hester. He walked with Joan. Mostly he con- 
trived to include several at once in the little excur- 
sions, though it was not rare for him to be out alone 
with one. 

It was not a game he was playing. More and more, 
as he learned to know these young women, he liked 
them better, he pitied them, he was good for them. 
It shamed him, hurt him, somehow, to see how they 
tried to fotget something when th^ were with him. 
9 "9 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Not improbably a little of it was coquetry, as 
nattiral as a laugh to any pretty woman. But that 
was not what htut him. It was to see Ruth or 
Rebecca, as the case might be, full o( life and fun, 
thoroughly enjoying scone jest or play, all of a sudden 
be strangely recalled from the wholescnne pleasure 
of a girl to become. a deep and somber woman. 
The crimes in the name of religion I How he thought 
of the blood and the ruin laid at the door of religion! 
He wondered if that were so with Nas Ta Bega's 
religion, and he meant to find out scaae day. The 
women he liked best he imagined the least religious, 
and they made less effort to attract him. 

Every night in the dark he went to Mary's home 
.and sat wiUi her on the porch. He never went in- 
side. For all he knew, his visits were unknown to 
her neighbors. Still, it did not matter to him if 
they found out. To her he could talk as he had 
never talked to any one. She liberated all his 
thought and fancy. He filled her mind. 

As there had been a change in the other woEnen, 
.so was there in Mary; however, it had no relation to 
the bishop's visit. Ilie time came when ShefiFord 
-could not but see that she lived and dis^ged through 
the long day for the sake of those few hours in the 
shadow of the stars with him. She seldom spoke. 
She listened. Wonderful to him — sometimes she 
laughed — and it seemed the sound was a ghost of 
childhood pleasure. When he stopped to consider 
that she might fall in love with him he drove the 
thought from him. When he realized that bis 
folly had become sweet and that the sweetness 
limperiously drew him. he likewise cast cS that 



.Cooglc 



SAGO-LILIES 

thought. The present was enough. And if he had 
any treasures c^ mind and heart he gave them to 
her. 

She never asked him to stay, but she showed that 
she wanted him to. That made it hard to go. 
Still, he never stayed late. The momeat of parting 
was like a break. Her good-by was sweet, low 
music; it lingered on his ear; it bade him come 
to-morrow night; and it sent him away into the 
valley to walk under the stars, a man fighting 
a^inst himself. 

One night at parting, as he tried to see her face 
in the wan glow of a clouded moon, he said : 

"I've been trying to find a sago-lily." 

"Have you never seen one?" she asked. 

"No." He meant to say something with a dou- 
ble meaning, in reference to her face and the name 
of the flower, but her unconsciousness made him 
hold his tongue. She was wholly unlike the other 
women. 

"I'll show you where the UUes grow," she said. 

"When?" 

"To-morrow. Early in the afternoon I'll come 
to the spring. Then I'll take you." 

Next morning Joe Lake returned and imparted 
news that was perturbing to Shefford. Reports of 
Shadd had come in to Stonebridge from different 
Indian villages; Joe was not inclined to linger long 
at the camp, and favored taking the trail with the 
pack-train. 

Shefford discovered that he did not want to 
leave the valley, and the knowledge made him re- 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

flective. Tliat morning he did not go into the vil- 
lage, and stayed in camp alone. A depression 
weighed upon him. It was dispelled, however, early 
in the afternoon by the sight of a slender figure in 
white swiftly coming down the path to the spring. 
He had an appointment with Mary to go .to see the 
sago-lilies; everything else sUpped his mind. 

Mary wore the long black hood that effectually 
concealed her face. It made of her a woman, a 
Mormon woman, and strangely belied the lithe 
form and the braid of gold hair. 

"Good day," she said, putting down her bucket. 
"Do you still want to go — ^to see the lilies?" 

"Yes," replied SheSord, with a short laugh. 

"Can you climb?" 

"I'll go where you go." 

Then she set off under the cedars and Shefford 
stalked at her side. He was aware that Nas Ta Bega 
watched them walk away. This day, so far, at least, 
Shefford did not feel talkative ; and Mary had always 
been one who mostly listened. They came at length 
to a place where the wall rose in low, smooth swells, 
not steep, but certainly at an angle Shefford would 
not of his own accord have attempted to scale. 

Light, quick, and sure as a mountain-sheep Mary 
went up the first swell to an offset above. Shefford, 
in amaze and admiration, watched the little mocca- 
sins as they flashed and held on to the smooth rock. 

When he essayed to follow her he slipped and 
came to grief. A second attempt resulted in like 
'failure. Then he backed away from the wall, to 
run forward fast and up the slope, only to slip, half- 
way up, and fall again. 



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SAGO-LILIES 

He made light of the incident, but she was solici- 
tous. When he assured her he was unhurt she 
said he had agreed to go where she went. 

"But I'm not a — a bird," he protested. 

"Take ofif your boots. Then you can climb. 
When we get over the wall it 11 be easy," she said. 

In his stocking-feet he had no great difficulty 
walking up the first bulge of the walls. And from 
there she led him up the strange waves of wind-worn 
rock. He could not attend to anything save the 
red, polished rock imder him, and so saw little. 
The ascent was longer than he would have imagined, 
and steep enough to make him pant, but at last a 
huge round summit was reached. 

From here he saw down into the valley where the 
village lay. But for the lazy columns of blue 
smoke curling up from the pinons the place would 
have seemed tminhabited. The wall on the other 
ade was about level with the one upon which he 
stood. Beyond rose other walls and cliffs, up and 
up to the great towering peaks between whidh the 
green-and-black mountain locnned. Facing the 
otiier way, Sheflford had only a restricted view. 
There were low crags and smooth stone ridges, be- 
tween which were aisles green witii cedar and pifion. 
Sh^ord's companion headed toyard one of these, 
and when he had followed her a few steps he could 
no longer see down into the valley. The Mormon 
vill^e where she lived was as if it were lost, and 
when it vanished ShefEord felt a difference. Scarcely 
had the thought passed when Mary removed the 
dark hood. Her small head glistened like gold in 
the sunlight. 

133 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

SheSord caught up with her and walked at her 
side, but could not bring himself at once deliberately 
to look at hCT. They entered a narrow, low-walled 
lane where cedars and pifions grew thickly, their 
fragrance heavy in the warm air, and flowers began 
to show in the grassy patches. 

."This is Indian' paint-brush," she said, pointing to 
little, low, scarlet flowers. A gray sage-bush with 
beautiful purple blossoms she called purple sage; 
another bush with yellow flowers she named buck- 
brush, and there were vermilion cacti and low, flat 
mounds of lavender daisies which she said had no 
name. A whole mossy bank was covered with lace 
like green leaves and tiny blossoms the color of 
violets, which she called loco. 

"Loco? Is this what makes the horses go crazy 
when they eat it?" he asked. 

"It is, indeed," she said, laughing. 

When she laughed it was impossible not to look 
at her. She walked a little in advance. Her white 
cheek and temple seined framed in the gold of her 
hair. How white her skinl But it was like pearl, 
faintly veined and flushed. The profile, clear-cut 
and pure, appeared cold, almost stem. He knew 
now that she was singularly beautiful, though he 
had yet to see her full face. 

They walked on. Quite suddenly the lane opened 
out between two rounded bluffs, and SheSord looked 
down upon a grander and more awe-inspiring scene 
than ever he had viewed in his dreams. 

What appeared to be a green mountainside 
sloped endl^sly down to a plain, and that rolled and 
billowed away to a boundless region of strangely 



X.oo^k 



SAGO-LILIES 

carved rock. The greatness of the scene could not 
be grasped in a glance. The slope was long; the 
plain not as levd as it seemed to be on first sight; 
here and there round, red rocks, isolated and strange, 
lilK lonely castles, rose out of the green. Beyond 
the green all the earth seemed naked, showing 
smooth, glistening bones. It was a formidable wall 
of rock that flung itself up in the distance, carved 
into a thousand cafions and wstlls and domes and 
peaks, and there was not a straight nor a broken nor 
a jagged line in all that wildness. The color low 
down was red, dark blue, and purple in the clefts, 
yellow up<m the heights, and in the distance rainbow- 
hued. A land of curves and color I 

Shefford uttered an exclamation. 

"That's Utah," said Mary. "I come often to 
sit here. You see that winding blue line. There. 
. . . That's San Juan CaSon. And the other dark 
line, that's Escalante Canon. They wind down 
into this great purple chasm — 'way ovw here to the 
left — and that's the Grand Cafion. They say not 
even the Indians have been in there." 

SheffcMxi had nothing to say. ITie moment was 
one of subtle and vital assimilation. Such places as 
this to be imknown to men I What strength, what 
wondw, what help, what glory, just to sit there an 
hour, slowly and appallingly to realize! Something 
came to SheSord from the distance, out of the purple 
cafions and from those dim, 'ridnd-wom peaks. He 
resolved to come here to this promontory again and 
again, alone and in humble spirit, and learn to know 
why he had been silenced, why peace pervaded his 
soul. 



by Google 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

It was with this emotion upon him that he turned 
to find his companion watchLig him. Then for th^ 
first time he saw her face fully, and was thrilled 
that chance had reserved the privilege for this mo- 
ment. It was a girl's face he saw, flower-like, lovely 
and pure as a Madonna's, and strangely, tragically 
sad. The eyes were large, dark gray, the color of 
the sage. They were as clear as the air which 
made distant things close, and yet they seemed full 
of shadows, like a ruffled pool under midnight stars. 
They disturbed him. Her mouth had the sweet 
curves and redness of youth, but it showed bitterness, 
pain, and repression. 

"Where are the sago-lilies?" he asked, suddenly. 

"Farther down. It's too cold up here for them. 
Come," she said. 

He followed her down a winding trail — down and 
down till the green plain rose to blot out the scrawled 
wall of rode, down into a verdant cafion where a 
brook made swift music over stones, where the air 
was sultry and hot, laden with the fragrant breath 
of flower and leaf. This was a cafion of summer, and 
it bloomed. 

The girl bent and plucked something from the grass. 

"Here's a white lily," she said. "There are 
three colors. The yellow and pink ones are deeper 
down in the cafions." 

SheSord took the flower and regarded it with 
great interest. He had never seen such an ex- 
quisite thing. It had three lai^e petals, curving 
cuplike, of a whiteness purer than new-fallen snow, 
and a heart of rich, warm gold. Its fragrance was so 
faint as to be almost indistinguishable, yet of a 

136 



,oglc 



SAGO-LILIES 

haunting, tuiforgetable sweetness. And even while 
he looked at it the petals drooped and their white- 
ness shaded and the gold paled. In a moment the 
flower was wilted. 

"1 don't like to pluck the lilies," said Mary. 
"They die so swiftly." 

Shefford saw the white flowers everywhere in the 
open, sunny places along the brook. They swayed 
with stately grace in the slow, warm wind. They 
seemed like three-pointed stars shining out of the 
green. He bent over one with a particularly lofty 
stem, and after a close survey of it he rose to look at 
her face. His action was plainly one of comparison. 
She laughed and said it was foohsh for the women 
to call her the Sago Lily. She had no coquetry; she 
spoke as she would have spoken of the stones at her 
feet; she did not know that she was beautiful. 
SheSord imagined there was some resemblance in her 
to the lily — the same whiteness, the same rich gold, 
and, more striking than either, a strange, rare 
quahty of beauty, of life, intangible as something 
fleeting, the spirit that had swiftly faded from the 
plucked flow^. Where had the girl been bom — 
what had her life been? SheSord was intensely 
curious about her. She seemed as different from 
any other women he had known as this rare cafLon 
lily was different from the tame flowers at home. 

On the return up the slope she outstripped him. 
She climbed lightly and tirelessly. When he reached 
her upon the promontory there was a stain of red 
in her cheeks and her expression had changed. 

"Let's go back up over the rocks," she said. 
"I've not climbed for — ^for so long." 
127 

Dj ., ,„Coo^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"111 go where you go," he replied. 

Then she was oS, and he followed. She took to 
the curves of the bare rocks and climbed. He 
sensed a spirit released in her. It was so strange, so 
keen, so wonderful to be with her, and when he did 
catch her he feared to speak lest he break this mood. 
Her eyes grew dark and daring, and often she 
stopp^ to look away across the wavy sea of stones 
to something beyond the great walls. When they 
got high the wind blew her hair loose and it flew out, 
a golden stream, with the sun bright upon it. ■ He 
saw that she changed her direction, which had been 
in line with the two peaks, and now she climbed 
toward the heights. They came to more difficult 
ascent, where the stone, still held to the smooth 
curves, yet was marked by steep bulges and slants 
and crevices. Here she became a wild thing. She 
ran, she leaped, she would have left Him far behind 
had he not called. Then she appeared to remember 
him and waited. 

Her face had now lost its whiteness ; it was flushed, 
rosy, warm. 

"Where — did you — eva: learn — to nm over rodcs 
— this way?" he panted. 

"All my life I've climbed," she said. "Ah! it's 
so good to be up on the walls again — to feel the wind 
— to see!" 

Thereafter he kept close to her, no matter what 
the effort. He would not miss a moment of her, if 
he could help it. ^e was wonderful. He imagined 
she must be like an Indian girl, or a savage who 
loved the lofty places and the silent^. When she 
leaped she uttered a strange, low, sweet cry of wild- 

138 



X.oogk 



SAGO-LILIES 

ness and exultation. She£Ford guessed she was a 
girl freed from her prison, forgetting herself, living 
again youthful hours. Still she did not forget him. 
She waited for him at the bad places, lent him a 
strong hand, and sometimes let it stay long in his 
clasp. Tireless and agile, sure-footed as a goat, 
fleet and wild she leaped and climbed and ran xmtil 
She£Ford marveled at her. This adventure was 
indeed fulfilment of a dream. Perhaps she might 
lead hii^ to the treasure at the foot of the rainbow. 
But that thought, sad with memory daring forth 
from its grave, was irrevocably linked with a girl 
who was dead. He could not remember her, in the 
presence of this wonderful creature who was as 
strange as she was beautiful. When Shefford reached 
for the brown hand stretched forth to help him in a 
leap, when he felt its Strong clasp, the youth and 
vitality and life of it, he had the fear of a man who 
was running toward a predpioe and who could not 
draw back. This was a climb, a lark, a wild race 
to the Mormon girl, bound now in the village, and 
by the very freedom of it she betrayed her bonds- 
To Shefford it was also a wild race, but toward one 
sure goal he dared not name. 

They went on, and at length, hand in hand, even 
where no steep step or wide fissure gave reason for 
the clasp. But ^e seemed unconscious. They 
were nearing the last height, a bare eininence, when 
she broke from hipi and ran up the smooth stone. 
When he surmounted it she was standing on the very 
summit, her arms mde, her full breast heaving, her 
dender body straight as an Indian's, her h^ flying 
in the wind and blazing in the sun. She seemed to 
139 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

embrace tlie west, to reach for something afar, to 
oSer herself to the wind and distance. Her face 
was scarlet from the exertion of the dimb, and her 
broad brow was moist. Her eyes had the piercing 
light of an eagle's, though now they were dark. 
Shefford instinctively grasped the essence of this 
strange spirit, primitive and wild. She was not the 
woman who had met him at the spring. She had 
dropped some side of her with that Mormon hood, 
and now she stood totally strange. 

She belonged up here, he divined. She was a 
part of that wildness. She must have been bom 
and brou0it up in loneliness, where the wind blew 
and the peaks loomed and silence held dominion. 
The sinking sun touched the rim of the distant wall, 
and as if in parting regret shone with renewed golden 
fire. And the girl was crowned as with a glory. 

SheSord loved her then. Realizing it, he thou^t 
he might have loved her before, but that did not 
matt^ when he was certain of it now. He trembled 
a little, fearfully, though without regret. Every- 
thing pertaining to his desert experience had been 
strange — ^this the strangest of all. 

The sun sank swiftly, and instantly there was a 
change in the golden light. Quickly it died out. 
The girl changed as swiftly. She seemed to re- 
member hersdif, and sat down as if suddenly 
weary. Shefford went closer and seated himself 
beside her. 

"The sun has set. We must go," she said. But 
she made no movement. 

"Whenever you are ready," replied he. 

Just as the blaze had died out of her eyes, so the 
130 



SAGO-LILIES 

flush faded out of her face. The whiteness stole 
back, and with it the sadness. He had to bite his 
tongue to keep from telling her what he felt, to keep 
from pouring out a thousand questions. But the 
privilege of having seen her, of having been with 
her when she had forgotten herself — that he believed 
was enough. It had been wonderful; it had made 
him love her. But it need not add to the tragedy of 
her life, whatever that was. He tried to eliminate 
himself. And he watched her. 

Her eyes were fixed upon the gold-rimmed ram- 
parts of the distant wall in the west. Plain it was 
how she loved that wild upland. And there seemed 
to be some haunting memory of the past in her 
gaze — some haj^y part of life, agonizing to think 
of now. 

"We must go," she said, and rose.- 

Sh^ord rose to accompany her. She looked at 
him, and her hatmting eyes seemed to want him to 
know that he had helped her to foi^et the present, 
to remember girlhood, and that somehow she would 
always associate a wonderful happy afternoon witii 
him. He divined that her silence then was a 
Mormon seal on lips. 

"Mary, this has been the happiest, the best, the 
most revealing day of my life," he said, simply. 

Swiftly, as if startled, she turned and faced down 
the slope. At the top of the wall above the village 
she put on the dark hood, and with it that somber 
something which was Mormon. 

Twilight had descended into the valley, and 

shadows were so thick SheSord had difficulty in 

finding Mary's budcet. He filled it at the spring, 

131 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

and made oBei to cany it home for her, whidi she 
dedined. 

"You'll ccnne to-night — Plater?" she asked. 

"Yes," he replied, hurriedly pioinising. Then he 
watched her white form slowly glide down the path 
to disappear in the shadows. 

Nas Ta B^a and Joe were busy at the camp-fire. 
Sheftord joined them. This n^t he was uncom- 
municative. Joe peered curiously at him in the 
flare of the blaze. Later, after the meal, when 
SheSord appeared restless and strode to and fro, 
Joe spoke up gruffly: 

"Better hang round camp to-night." 

Shefford heard, but did not heed. Nevertheless, 
the purpc^ of the remark, whidi was either jealou^ 
or admonition, haunted him with the possibility 
of its meaning. 

He walked away from the camp-fire, under the 
dark pifions, out into the starry open; and every 
step was hard to take, unless it pointed toward the 
home of the girl whose beauty and sadness and 
mystery had bewitched him. After what seemed 
hours he took the well-known path toward her cabin, 
and then every step seemed l^ter. He divined he 
was rushing to some fate — he knew not what. 

Hie porch was in shadow. He peered in vain 
for the white fonn gainst the dark bad^round. 
In the silence he seemed to hear his heart-beats 
thidc and muffled. 

Some distance down the path he I^ard the sound 

of hoofe. '^thdiawing into the gloom of a cedar, 

he watched. Soon he made out moving horses with 

Tiders. They filed past him to the ntunb^ of half 

13a 



,.C.oo.^[c 



SAGO-LILIES 

a score. Uke a flash of fire the truth burned him. 
Mormons come for one oi those mysterious ni^t 
visits to sealed wives! 

SheSord stalked far down the valley, into the 
lonely silence and the n^t shadows under the walls. 



bf Google 



vm 

THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BBGA 

THE home of Nas Ta Bega lay far up the cedared 
slope, with the craggy ydlow cliffs and the 
black cafions and the pine-fringed top of Navajo 
Mountain behind, and to the fore the vast, rolling 
descent c^ cedar groves and sage flats and sandy 
washes. No dim, dark range made bold outline 
along the horiztm; the stretch of gray and purple 
and green extended to the blue line of sky. 

Down the length of one sage level Shefford saw a 
long lane where the brush and the grass had been 
beaten flat. This, the Navajo said, was a track 
where the young braves had raced their mustangs 
and had striven for supremacy before the eyes of 
maidens and the old pec^le <^ the tribe. 

"Nas Ta Bega, -did you ever race here?" asked 
Shefford. 

"I am a chi^ by birth. But I was stolen from 
my home, and now I cannot ride well enough to race 
the braves of my tribe," the Indian replied, bitterly. 

In another place Joe Lake halted his horse and 
called Shefford's attention to a big yellow rock lying 
along the trail. And then he spoke in Navajo to the 
Indian. 

134 

DigilicibfGoO^lc 



THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BEGA 

"I've heard of this stooe — Isende Aha," said Jocr 
after Nas Ta Bega had spoken. "Get down, and 
let's see." 

SheSord dismounted, but the Indian kept his seat 
in the saddle. 

Joe placed a big hand on the stone and tried to 
move it. According to Shefford's eye measurement 
the stone was nearly oval, perhaps three feet high, 
by a little over two in width. Joe threw off his 
sombrero, took a deep breath, and, bending over, 
clasped the stone in his arms. He was an exceed- 
ii^y heavy and powerftd man, and it was plain to 
Shefford that he meant to lift liie stone if that were 
possible. Joe's broad shoulders strained, flattened; 
his arms bulged, his joints cracked, his neck corded, 
and his face turned black. By gigantic effort he 
- lifted the stone and moved it about six inches. 
Then as he released his hold he fell, and when he 
sat up his face was wet with sweat. 

"Try it," he said to Shefford, with his lazy smile. 
"See if you can heave it." 

Shefford was strong, and there had been a time 
when he todc pride in his strength. Something in 
Joe's supreme effort and in the ^oran of the Indian's 
eyes made Shefford curious about this stone. He 
bent over and grasped it as Joe had done. He 
braced himself and lifted with all his power, until a - 
red blur obscured his sight and shooting stars 
seemed to explode in his head. But he could not 
even stir the stone. 

"Shefford, maybe you'll be able to heft it swne 
day," observed Joe. Then he pointed to the stone 
and addressed Nas Ta B^:a. 
to 135 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

The Indian shook his head and spdcefor amcmienfa. 

"This is the Isende Aha of the Navajos," etplained 
Joe. "TTie young braves are always trying to carry 
this stone. As soon as one of them can cany it he 
is a man. He who carries it farthest is the biggest 
man. And just so soon as any Indian can no 
longer lift it he is old. Nas Ta Bega says the stone 
has been carried two miles in his lifetime. His 
own father carried it the length of ax steps." 

"Wdll It's plain to me that I am not a man," 
said SheSord, "or else I am old." 

Joe Lake drawled his lazy laugh and, mounting, 
rode up the trail. But ^eSord lingered beside the 
Indian. 

"Bi Nai," said Nas Ta B^a, "I am a diief of my 
tribe, but I have never been a man, I never lifted 
that stone. See what the pale-face education has 
done for the Indian I" 

The Navajo's bitterness made SheflFord thought- 
ful. Could greater injury be done to man than 
this — ^to rob him of his heritage of strength? 

Joe drove the bobbing pack-train of btirros into 
the cedars where the smoke of the hogans curled 
upward, and soon the whistling of miistangs, the 
barking of dogs, the bleating <rf sheep, told of his 
reception. And presently Shefford was in the midst 
of an animated scene. Great, woolly, fierce dogs, 
like wolves, ran out to meet the visitors. Sheep and 
goats were everywhere, and little lambs scarcely 
able to walk, with others frisky and frolicsome. 
There were pure-white lambs, and some that ap- 
peared to be painted, and some so beautiful with 
their fleecy white all except black faces or ears or 
136 



THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BEGA 

tails or feet. They ran right under Nack-yal's legs 
and bumped against ^eSord, and kept bleating 
their thin-piped welccane. Under the cedars sur- 
roundit^ the several hogans were mustangs that took 
aiefEord's eye. He saw an iron-gray with white 
mane and tail sweepit^ to the ground; and a fiery 
black, wilder than any other beast he had ever 
seen; and a pinto as wonderfully painted as the 
little lambs; and, most striking of all, a pure, cream- 
colored mustang with grace and fine lines and 
beautiful mane and tail, and, strai^e to see, eyes as 
blue .as azure. This albino mustang came right up 
to Shefford, an action in singular ccmtrast with that 
of the others, and showed a tame and friendly spirit 
toward him and Nack-yal. Indeed, SheffOTd had 
reason to feel ashamed of Nack-yal's temper or 
jealousy. 

The first Indians to put in an appearance were a 
flodc of children, half naked, witii tangled manes 
of raven-black hair and skin like gold bronze. They 
appeared bold and shy by turns. Then a little, 
sinewy m a n , old and beatai and gray, came out of 
the principal hogan. He wore a blanket round his 
bent shoulders. His name was Hosteen Doetin, and 
it meant gentle man. His fine, old, wrinkled face 
lighted with a smile of kindly interest. His squaw 
followed him, and she was as venerable as he. 
SheSord cai^t a glimpse of the shy, dark Glen 
Naspa, Nas Ta Bega's sister, but she did not come 
out. Other Indians appeared, coming from adjacent 
hogans. 

Nas Ta Bega turned the mustangs loose among 

those SheSord had noticed, and presently there rose 

137 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

a snorting, whistling, kicking, plunging m^6e. A 
cloud of dust hid them, and then a thudding of swift 
hoofs tcdd of a run through the oedars. Joe Lake 
began picking over stacks of goat-skins and b^s of 
wool that were piled against the hogan. 

."Reckon we'U have one grand job packing out 
this load," he growled. "It's not so heavy, but 
awkward to pack." 

It developed, presently, from talk with the old 
Navajo, that this pile was only a half of the load to 
be packed to Kayenta, and the other half was 
round the coiner of the mountain in the can^ of 
Piutes. Hosteen Doetin said he would send to the 
camp and have the Piutes bring their share over. 
The suggestion suited Joe, who wanted to save his 
burros as much as possible. Accordingly, a messen- 
ger was despatched to the Piute camp. And Shef- 
ford, with time on his hands and poignant memory 
to combat, decided to recall his keen interest in the 
Navajo, and learn, if possible, what the Indian's life 
was l^e. What would a day of his natural life be? 

In the gray of dawn, when the hush of ^he desert 
n^ht still lay deep over tbe land, the Navajo stirred 
in his blanket and began to chant to the morning 
light. It began very soft and low, a strange, broten 
murmur, like the mudc of a brook, and as it swelled 
that wdrd and mournful tone was slowly lost in 
one of hope and joy. Ilie Indian's soul was coming 
out of night, bladmess, the sleep that resembled 
death, into the day, the light that was life. 

Then he stood in the docn* of his hogan, his blanket 
around him, and faced the east. 
138 



THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BEGA 

Night was lifting out of the clefts and ravines; 
the rolling cedar ridges and the sage flats were 
softly gray, with thin veils like smoke mysteriously 
rising and vanishing; the colorless rocks were chang- 
ing. A lor^, horizon-wide ^eam of light, rosiest in 
the center, lay low down in the east and momentarily 
brightened. One by one the stars in the deep-blue 
sky paled and went out and the blue dome changed 
and listened. Night had vanished on invisible 
wti^ and silence broke to the music of a mocking- 
bird. TTie rose in the east deepened; a wisp of 
doud turned gold; dim distant mountains showed 
dark gainst the red; and low down in a notch & rim 
of fire appeared. Over the soft ridges and valleys 
crept a wondrous transfiguration. It was as if 
every blade of grass, every leaf of sage, every tw^ 
of cedar, the flowers, the trees, the rocks came to 
life at sight of the sun. The red disk rose, and a 
golden fire bxutied over the Rowing face of that 
lonely waste. 

The Navajo, dark, stately, inscrutable, faced the 
sun — ^his god. This was his Great Spirit. The 
desert was his mother, but the sun was his life. 
To the keeper of the winds and rains, to the master 
of Ught, to the maker of fire, to the giver of life the 
Navajo sent up his prayer: 

Of all the good thii^ of the Earth let me always have plenty. 
Of all the beautiful things of the Earth let me always have plenty. 
Peacefully let my htxses go and peacefully let my sheep go. 
God of the Heavens, give me many sheep and horses. 
God of the Heavens, helfi me to talk straight. 
Goddess ctf the Earth, my Mother, let me walk straight. 
Now all is well, now all is well, now all is well, now all is well. 
t39 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Hope and faith were his. 

A chief would be bom to save the vanishing 
tribe of Navajos. A bride would rise from a wind — 
kiss of the lilies in the moonlight. 

He drank from the dear, cold spring bubbling 
from under mossy rocks. He went into the cedars, 
and the tracks in the trails told him of the visitors 
of night. His mustangs whistled to him irom the 
ridge-tops, standing clear with heads up and manes 
flying, and then trooped down through the sage. 
The shepherd-dogs, guardians of the flocks, barked 
him a welccmie, and the sheep bleated and the lambs 
pattered round him. 

In the hogan by the warm, red fire his women 
baked his bread and cooked his meat. And he 
satisfied his himger. Then he took choice meat to 
the hogan c^ a sick relative, and joined in the song 
and the dance and the prayer that drove away the 
evil ^rit of illness. Down in the valley, in a sandy, 
sunny place, was his corn-field, and here he turned 
in the water from the ditch, and worked awhile, and 
went his contented way. 

He loved his people, his women, and his children. 
To his son he said : "Be bold and brave. Grow like 
the pine. Work and ride and ffey that you may 
be strong. Talk straight. .Love your brother. 
Give half to your friend. Honor your mother that 
you may honor your wife. Pray and Usten to your 
gods." 

Then with his gun and his mustang he climbed 
the slope c^ the mountain. He loved the solitude, 
but he was nevw alone. There were voices on the 
wind and steps on his trail. The lofty pine, the 



THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BEGA 

lichened rock, the tiny bluebell, the seared crag — 
all .whispered their secrets. For him their spirits 
spoke. In the morning light Old Stone Face, the 
mountain, was a red god calling him to the chase. 
He was a brother of the eag^e, at hcnne on the 
heights where the winds swept and the earth lay 
revealed below. 

In the goldai afternoon, with the warm sun on his 
back and the blue cafions at his feet, he knew the 
joy of dtang nothing. He did not need rest, for he 
was never tired. The sage-sweet breath of the oprai 
was thick in his nostrils, the silence that had so many 
whisperings was all about him, the loneliness of the 
wild was his. His falccm eye saw mustang and 
sheep, the puff of dust down on the cedar level, 
the Indian riding on a distant ridge, the gray walls, 
and the blue cl^ts. Here was home, still free, still 
wild, still tmtainted. He saw with the eyes of his 
ancestors. He felt them around him. They had 
gone into the elements from which their voices came 
on the wind. They were the watchers on his trails. 

At sunset he faced the west, and- this was his 
prayer: 

Great Spirit, God <rf my Fathers, 
Keep my horses in the night. 
Keep my sheep in the njght. 
Keep my family in the n^t. 
Let me wake to the day- 
Let me be wca1,hy of the l^ht. 
Now all is well, now all is well. 
Now all is well, now all is well. 

And he watched the sun go down and the gold 
sink from the peaks and the red die out of the west 



X.oo^k 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

and the gray shadows creep out of the ca&ms to 
meet the twilight and the slow, silent, mysterious 
approach of night with its gift of stars. 

Night fell. The white stars blinked. The wind 
si^ed in the cedars. The sheep bleated. The 
shepherd-dogs bayed the mourning coyotes. And 
the TT"^'aTi lay down in his blankets with his dark 
face tranquil in the starlight. All was well in h^ 
lonely world. Phantoms hovered, iUness lingered, 
injury and pain and death were there, the shadow 
of a strange white hand flitted across the face ci the 
moon — but now all was well — ^the Navajo had 
prayed to the god of his Fathers. Now all was 
well! 

And this, thought SheSord in revolt, was what 
the white man had killed in the Indian tribes, was 
reaching out now to kill in this wild remnant of the 
Navajos. The padre, the trapper, the trader, the 
prospector, and the missionary — so the white man 
had come, some of him good, no doubt, but more of 
him evil; and the youi^ brave learned a thirst that 
could never be quenched at the cold, sweet spring 
of his forefathers, and the yoimg maiden burned with 
a fever in her blood, and lost the sweet, strange, wild 
fancies of her tribe. 

Joe Lake came to Shefford and said, "Withers 
told me you had a mix-up with a missionary at Red 
Lake." 

"Yes, I regret to say," replied SheflEord. 

"About Glen Naspa?" 

"Yes, Nas Ta Bega's sister." 



Dji.,.inGoogle 



THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BEGA 

"Withers just mentioned it. Who was the 
missionary?" 

"Willetts, so Presbrey, the trader, said." 

"What 'd he look like?" 

Shefford recalled the smooth, brown face, the 
dark eyes, the weak chin, the mild expression, and 
the soft, lax figure of the missionary. 

"Can't tell by what you said," went on Joe. "But 
I'll bet a peso to a horse-hair that's the fellow who's 
been here. Old Hosteen Doetin just told me. 
First visits he ever had from the priest with the 
Icmg gown. That's what he called the missionary. 
These old fellows will never forget what's come down 
&om father to son about the Spanish padres. Well, 
anyway, Willetts has been here twice after Glen 
Naspa. The old chap is impressed, but he doesn't 
want to let the girl go. I'm inclined to think Glen 
Naspa would as Uef go as stay. She may be a 
Navajo, but she's a girl. She won't talk much." 

"Where's Nas Ta Bega?" asked Shefford. 

"He rode off somewhere yesterday. Perhaps to 
the Piute camp. ITiese Indians are slow. They 
may take a week to pack that load over here. But 
if Nas Ta Bega or some one doesn't come with a 
mess^e to-day I'll ride over there myself." 

"Joe, what do you think about this missionary?" 
queried Shefford, bluntly. 

"Reckon there's not much to think, imless you 
see him or find out something. I heard of Willetts 
before Withers spoke of him. He's firiendly with 
Mormons. I understand he's vrorkeA for Mormon 
interests, someway or other. That's on the quiet. 
Savvy? This matter of him coming after Glen 
»43 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Naspa, reckon that's all right. The missionaries all 
go after the young people. What 'd be the iise to 
try to ctmvert the old Indians ? No, the missionary's 
work is to educate t^e Indian, and, of course, the 
younger he is the better." 

"You approve of the missionaiy?" 

"SheffOTd, if you understood a Monnon you 
wouldn't ask that. Did you ever read or hear of 
Jacob Hamblin? . . . Well, he was a Monnon mis- 
sionary among the Navajos. The Navajos were as 
fierce as Apaches till Hamblin worked among them. 
He made them friendly to the white man." 

"That doesn't prove he made converts of them," 
replied Shefford, still bluntly. 

"No. For the matter of that, Hamblin let re- 
ligion alone. He made presents, then traded with 
th^n, then taught them tiseful knowledge. Mor- 
mon or not, Shefford, I'll admit this: a good man, 
stroi^ with his body, and learned in ways with his 
hands, with some knowledge of medicine, can better 
the condition of these Indians. But just as soon 
as he b^ins to preach his rel^on, then his influence 
wanes. That's natural. These heathen have their 
ideals, their gods." 

"Which the white man should leave them!" re- 
plied Shefford, feelingly. 

"That's a matter of opinion. But don't let's 
argue. . . . Willetts is after Glen Naspa. AncJ if I 
know Indian girls he'll persuade her to go to his 
school." 

"Persuade her!" Then Shefford broke off ,and 
related the incident that had occurred at Red Lake. 

"Reckon any means justifies the end," replied Joe, 



THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BEGA 

imperturbably. "Let him talk love to her or rope 
her or beat her, so long as he makes a Christian of 
her." 

Shefford felt a hot flush and had difficulty in con- 
trolling himseU. From this single point of view the 
Mormon was impossible to reason with. 

"That, too, is a matter of opinion. We won't 
discuss it," continued Sh^ord. "But — if old Hos- 
teen Doetin objects to the girl leaving, and if Nas 
Ta Bega does the same, won't that end the matter?" 

"Reckon not. The end of the matter is Glen 
Naspa. If she wants to go she'll go." 

Shefford thought best to drop the discussion. 
For the first time he had occasion to be r^elled by 
something in this kind and genial Mormon, and he 
wanted to foi^t it. Just as he had never talked 
about men to the sealed wives in the hidden valley, 
so he could not talk of women to Joe Lake. 

Nas Ta Bega did not return that day, but next 
morning a messenger came calling l^e to the 
Piute camp. Shefford spent the morning high on 
the slope, learning more with every hour in the 
silence and loneliness, that he was stronger of soul 
than he had dared to hope, and that the added 
pain which had come to him could be borne. 

Upon his return toward camp, in the cedar grove, 
he caught sight of Glen Naspa with a white man. 
They did not see him. When Shefford recognized 
WiUetts an embarrassment as well as an instinct 
made him halt and step into a bushy, low-lM-anched 
cedar. It was not his intention to spy on them. 
He merely wanted to avoid a meeting. But the 
missionary's hand on the girl's arm, and her up- 
I4S 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

lifted head, her pretty face, strange, intent, troubled, 
struck SheSord with an unusual and irresistible 
curiosity. Willetts was talking earnestly; Glcai 
Naspa was listening intently, SheSord watched 
long enough to see that the girl loved the missionary, 
and that he reciprocated or was pretending. His 
manner scarcely savored of pretense, Shefford ccm- 
cluded, as he slipped away under the trees. 

He did not go at once into camp. He felt troubled, 
and wished that he had not encountered the two. 
His duty in the matter, of course, was to tell Nas 
Ta Bega what he had seen. Upon reflection Shef- 
ford decided to give the missionary the benefit of a 
doubt; and if he really cared for the Indian girl, 
and admitted or betrayed it, to think all the better of 
him fw the fact. Glen Naspa was certainly pretty 
enough, and probably lovable enough, to please any 
lonely man in this desert. The pain and the yearn- 
ing in Shefford's heart made him lenient. He had 
to fight himself — not to forget, for that was impos- 
sible — ^but to keep rational and sane when a white 
flower-like face haunted him and a voice called. 

The cracking of hard hoofs on stones caused him 
to turn toward camp, and as he emerged from the 
cedar grove he saw three Indian horsemen ride into 
the cleared space before the hogans. They were 
superbly moimted and well armed, and impressed 
him as being different from Navajos. Perhaps they 
were Kutes. They dismounted and led the mus- 
tangs down to the pool below the spring, Shefford 
saw another mustang, standing bridle down and 
carrying a pack behind the saddle. Some squaws 
with children hanging behind their skirts were 
146 



THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BEGA 

standing at the door of Hosteen Doetin's hogan. 
SheSord glanced in to see Glen Naspa, pale, quiet, 
almost sullen. Willetts stood with his hands s|»%ad. 
The old Navajo's seamed face worked convulsively 
as he tried to lift his bent form to some semblance 
of dignity, and his voice rolled out, sonorously: 
"Me no savvy Jesus Christ! Me hungry! . . . Me 
no eat Jesus Christ!" 

SheSord drew back as if he had received a blow. 
That had been Hosteen Doetin's reply to the im- 
portunities of the missionary. The old Navajo 
could work no longer. His sons were gone. His 
squaw was worn out. He had no one save Glen 
Naspa to help him. She was young, strong. He was • 
hungry. What was the white man's religion to him? 

Witii long, swift stride Shefford entered the 
hogan. Willetts, seeing him, did not look so mild 
as Shefford had him pictured in memory, nor did he 
appear surprised. Shefford touched Hosteen Doe- 
tin's shoulder and said, "Tell me." 

The aged Navajo lifted a shaking hand. 

"Me no savvy Jesus ChristI Me hungry! . . . 
Me no eat Jesus Christ!" 

Shefford then made signs tiiat indicated the mis- 
sionary's intention to take the girl away. 

"Him come — ^big talk — ^Jesus — all Jesus. . . . Me 
no want Glen Naspa go," repUed the Indian. 

Shefford turned to the missionary. 

"Willetts, is he a relative of the girl?" 

"There's some blood tie, I don't know what. 
But it's not close," repKed Willetts. 

"Then don't you think you'd better wait till 
Nas Ta Bega returns? He's hw brother." 
147 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"What for?" demanded WiUetts. "That Indian 
may be gone a week. She's willing to go." 

Shefford looked at the girl. 

"Glen Naspa, do you want to go?" 

She was shy, ashamed, and alent, but manifestly 
willing to accompany the missionary. Shefford 
pondered a moment. How he hoped Nas Ta Bega 
would come back! It was thought of the Indian 
that made Shefford stubborn. What his stand oug^t 
to be was hard to define, unless he answered to 
impulse; and here in the wilds he had become im- 
bued with the idea that his impulses and instincts 
were no longer false. 

"WiUetts, what do you want with the girl?" 
queried Shefford, coolly, and at the question he 
seemed to find himself. He peered deliberately and 
searchingly into the other's face. The missionary's 
gaze shifted and a tinge of red crept up from imder 
his collar. 

"Absurd thing to ask a missionary!" he burst out, 
impatiently. 

"Do you care for Glen Naspa?" 

' ' I care as God's disciple — who cares to save the soul 
of heathen," he replied, with the lofty tcaie of prayer. 

"Has Glen Naspa no — no other interest in you — 
except to be taught religion?" 

The missionary's face flamed, and his violent 
tremor showed that under his exterior there was a 
different man. 

"What right have you to question me?" he de- 
manded. "You're an advaiturer — an outcast. I've 
my duty here. I'm a missionary with Church and 
state and government behind me." 
148 

Dj ., ,„Goo^lc 



THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BEGA 

"Yes, I'm an outcast," replied Shefford, bitterly. 
"And you may be all you say. But we're alone now 
out here on tiie desat. And this girl's brother is 
absent. You haven't answered me yet. ... Is there 
anything between you and Glen Naspa except 
religion?" 

"No, you insulting beggar!" 

Shefford had forced the reply that he had expected 
and which damned the missicmary b^ond any 
consideration. 

"Willetts, you are a liar!'* said Shefford, steadily. 

' 'And what are you ?" cried Willetts, in shrill fury. 
' ' I ' ve heard all about you. Heretic ! Atheist ! 
Driven from your Church I Hated and scromed for 
your blasphemy!" 

Then he gave way to ungovernable rage, and 
cursed Shefford as a religious fanatic might have 
cursed the most debased of sinners. Shefford heard 
with the blood bating, strangling the puke in his 
ears. Somehow this misaonary had learned bis 
secret — most likely from the Mormons in Stone- 
bridge. And the terms of disgrace were coals of 
fire upon Shefford's head. Strangely, however, he 
did not bow to them, as had been his humble act in the 
past, when his calumniators had arraigned and flayed 
him. Passion burned in him now, and hate, fra- the 
first time in his life, made a tiger of him. And 
these raw emotions, new to him, were difficult to 
control. 

"You can't take the girl," he replied, when the 
other had ceased. "Not without her brother's 
consent." 

"I will takeherl" 

149 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Shefford threw him out of the hogan and strode 
after him. '^^etts had sttimbled. When he straight- 
ened up he was white and shaken. He groped for 
the bridle of his horse while keeping his eyes tipon 
SheSord, and when he found it he whirled quickly, 
motmted, and rode oS. SheSord saw him halt a 
moment under the cedars to speak with the thj%e 
strange Indians, and then he galloped away. It 
came to SheSord then that he had been tmconscious 
of the last strained moment of that encounter. He 
seemed all cold, tight, locked, and was amazed to 
find his hand on his gun. Verily the wild environ- 
ment had Uberated strange instincts and impulses, 
which he had answered. That he had no regrets 
proved how he had changed. 

Shefford heard the old woman scolding. Peering 
into the hogan, he saw Glen Naspa flounce sullenly 
down, for all the world like any other thwarted girl. 
Hosteen Doetin came out and pointed down the 
slope at the departing missionary. 

"Heap talk Jesus — all talk — all Jesus!" he ex- 
claimed, contemptuously. Then he gave Shefford 
a hard rap on the chest. "Small talk — heap mani" 

The matter appeared to be adjusted for the 
present. But Sh^ord felt that he had made a 
bitter enemy, and perhaps a powerful one. 

He prepared and ate his supper alone that evening, 
for Joe Lake and Nas Ta Bega did not put in an 
appearance. He observed that the three strange 
Indians, whom he took for Fiutes, hept to themselves, 
and, so far as he knew, had no intercourse with any 
one at the camp. TTiis would not have seemed 
untisual, constdering the taciturn habit o£ Indians, 



THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BEGA 

had he not remembered seeing Willetts speak to the 
trio. What had he to do with them? Shefford 
was consideriiig the atuation with vague doubts 
when, to his relief, the three strangers rode <M into 
the twilight. Then he went to bed. 

He was awakened by violence. It was the gray 
hour before dawn. Dark forms knelt over him. A 
doth pressed down hard over his mouth; Strcmg 
hands bound it while other strong hands held him. 
He could not cry out. He could not stru^Ie. A 
heavy wdght, evidently a man, held down his feet. 
Then he was rolled over, securely boimd, and carried, 
to be thrown like a sack over the back of a horse. 

All this happened so swiftly as to be bewildering. 
He was too astounded to be frightened. As he hung 
head downward he saw the legs of a hco'se and a 
dim trail. A stirrup swung to and fro, hitting him 
in the face. He began to feel exceedingly uncom- 
fortable, with a rush c^ blood to his head, and 
cramps in his arms and legs. This kept on and 
grew wcffse ior what seemed a long time. Then the 
horse was stopped and a rude hand ttunbled him 
to the groimd. Again he was rolled over on his 
face. Strong fingers plucked at his clothes, and he 
believed he was being searched. His captors were 
as silent as if they had been diunb. He felt when 
they took his pocketbook and bis knife and all that 
he had. Then they cut, tore, and stripped off all 
his clothing. He was lifted, carried a few steps, and 
dropped upon what seemed a soft, low mound, and 
left tying there, still tied and naked. Shefford heard 
the rustle of sage and the dull thud of hoofs as his 
assailants went airay. 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

His first sensation was one of immeasurable relief. 
He had not been murdered. Robbery was nothing. 
And though roug^y handled, he bad not been hurt. 
He associated the assatdt with the three strange 
visitors of the preceding day. Still, he had no proof 
of that. Not the slightest clue remained to help 
him ascertain who had attacked him. 

It might have been a short while or a long one, his " 
mind was so filled with growing conjectures, but a 
time came when he fdt cold. As he lay face down, 
only his bade felt cold at fiirst. He was grateful 
that he had not been thrown upon the rocks. The 
ground tuider him appeared soft, spongy, and gave 
somewhat as he breathed. He had really sunk down 
a little in this pile of soft earth. The day was not 
far off, as he could tell by the brightening of the gray. 
He b^an to suffer with the cold, and then slowly he 
seemed to freeze and grow numb. In an effort to 
roll over upon his back he discovered that his position, 
or his being bound, or the numbness of ids musdes 
was' responsible for the fact that he could not 
move. Here was a predicament. It began to look 
serious. What would a few hottts of the powerful 
sun do to his imcovered skin? Somebody would 
trail and find him: still, he might not be found 
soon. 

He saw the sky lighten, turn rosy and then gold. 
The Sim ^icme upon him, but some time elapsed 
before he fdt its warmth. All of a sudden » pain, 
like a sting, shot through his shoulder. He could 
not see what caused it; probably a bee. Then he 
felt another upon his leg, and about simult^ieously 
with it a tiny, fiery stab in his side. A sickening. 
153 



THE HOGAN OF NAS TA BEGA 

sensaticm pervaded his body, slowly moving, as if 
poison had entered the blood of his veins. Then 
a puncture, as from a hot wire, entered the sHn of 
his breast. Unmistakably it was a bite. By dint 
of great effort he twisted his head to see a big red 
ant on his breast. Then he heard a faint sound, so 
exceedingly faint that he could not tell what it was 
like. But presently his strained ears detected a 
low, swift, rustling, creeping sound, Hke the slipping 
rattle of an infinite number of tiny bits of moving 
gravel. Then it was a sound like the seepiiig of 
wind-blown sand. Several hot bites occurred at 
once. And then with his head- twisted he saw a red 
stream of ants pour out of the mound and q>ill over 
his quivering flesh. 

In an instant he realized his position. He had 
been dropped intentionally upon an ant-heap, which 
had sunk with his weight, weeding him between the 
crusts. At the mercy of those terrible desat ants! 
A frantic effort to roll out proved futile, as did 
another and another. His violent muscular con- 
tractions infuriated the ants, and in an instant he 
was writhing in pain so horrible and so unendurable 
that he nearly fainted. But he was too strong to 
faint suddenly. A bath of vitriol, a stripping of 
his skin and red embers of fire tiirown upon raw 
flesh, could not have equaled this. There was fury 
in the bites and poison in the fangs of these ants. 
Was this an Intian's brutal trick or was it the 
missionary's revenge? Shefford realized that it 
would kill him soon. He sweat what seemed blood, 
although perhaps the blood came from the bites. 
A strange, hollow, buzzing roar filled his ears, and 
153 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

it must have been the pouring of the angry ants 
from their mound. 

Then followed a time that was hell — worse than 
fire, for fire would have given merciful death — 
agony under which his physical being began spas- 
modically to jerk and retch—and his eyeballs turned 
and his breast caved in. 

A cry rang through the roar in his ears, ' ' Bi Nai ! 
Bi Nai!" 

His fading sight seemed to shade round the dark 
face of Nas Ta Bega. 

Then powerful hands dragged him from the 
mound, through the grass and sa^e, rolled him over 
and over, and brushed his burning skin with strong, 
swift sweep. 



bf Google 



m THE DESERT CRUCIBLE 

THAT hard eiperience was but the beginning of 
many cruel trials for John Shefford. 

He never knew who his assailants were, nor their 
motive other than robbery; and they had gotten 
little, for th^ had not found the large sum of money 
sewed in the lining of his coat. Joe Lake declared 
it was Shadd's work, and the Mormon showed the 
stem nature that lay hidden under his habitual mild 
manner. Nas Ta Bega shook his head and would 
not tell what he thought. But a somber fire burned 
in his eyes. 

The three started with a heavily laden pack-train 
and went down the mountain slope into West Canon. 
The second day they were shot at from the rim 
walls. Lake was wounded, hindering the swift 
flight necessary to escape deeper into the cafion. 
Here they hid for days, while the Mormon recovered 
and the Indian took stealthy trips to try to locate 
the enemy. Lack of water and grass for the burros 
drove them on. They dimbed out of a side canon, 
losing sevo'al burros on a rough trail, and had pro- 
ceeded to within half a day's journey of Red Lake 
when they were attacked while making camp in a 
«55 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

cedar grove. Sbefford sustained an exceedingly 
painful injury to his leg, but, fortunately, the btdlet 
went through without breaJring a bone. With that 
burning pain there came to Sbefford the meaning of 
fight, and his rifle grew hot in his hands. Night 
alone saved the trio from certain fatality. Under 
the cover of darkness the Indian helped SbeSord to 
escape. Joe Lake looked out for himself. The 
pad£-tratn was lost, and the mustangs, except Nack- 
yal. 

Sbefford learned what it meant to lie out at night, 
listening for pursuit, cold to his marrow, sick with 
dread, and enduring frighliul pain from a ragged 
bullet-hcde. Next day the Indian led him down 
into the red basin, where the sun shone hot and the 
sand r^ected the heat. They had no water. A 
wind arose and the valley became a place of flyii^ 
sand. Through a heavy, stifling pall Nas Ta Bega 
somehow got Shefford to the trading-post at Red 
Lake. Presbrey attended to Shefford's injury and 
made him comfortable. Next day Joe Lake limped 
in, surly and somber, with the news that Shadd and 
eight or ten of his outlaw gang had gotten away with 
the pack-train. 

In short time Shefford was able to ride, and with 
his companions went over the pass to Kayenta, 
Withers aheady knew of his loss, and all he said 
was that he hoped to meet Shadd some day. 

Shefford showed a reluctance to go again to the 
hidden village in the silent cafion with the rounded 
walls. The trader appeared surprised, but did not 
press the point. And Shefford meant sooner or 
later to tell him, yet never quite reached the point. 
156 



IN THE DESERT CRUCIBLE 

The early summer brought more work for the little 
post, and Shefford toiled with the others. He liked 
the outdoor ta^ks, and at night was grateful that 
he was too tired to think. Then followed trips to 
Durango and Bluff and Monticello. He rode fifty 
miles a day for many days. He knew how a man 
fares who packs hght and rides far and fast. When 
the Indian was with him he got along wdl, but Nas 
Ta Bega would not go near the towns. TTius many 
mishaps were Sheffcml's fortune. 

Many and many a mile he trailed his mustang, 
for Nack-yal never fwgot the Sagi, and always 
headed for it when he broke his hobbles. Shefford 
accompanied an Indian teamster in to Durango 
with a. wagcm and four wild mustangs. Upon the 
return, with a heavy load of supplies, accident put 
Shefford in charge ot the outfit. In despair he had 
to face the hardest task that could have beai given 
him — ^to take care of a crippled Indian, catch, water, 
feed, harness, and drive four wild mustangs that 
did not know him and tried to kill him at every turn, 
and to get that precious load of supplies home to 
Kayenta. That he accomplished it proved to him 
the posdbilities of a man, for both endurance and 
patience. From that time he never gave up in the 
front of any duty. 

In the absence of an available Indian he rode to 
Durango and back in record time. Upon one occa- 
sion he was lost in a cafion for days, with no food 
and little water. Upon another he went through 
a sand-storm in the open desert, facing it for forty 
miles and keeping to the trail. When he rode in to 
Kayenta that night the trader, in grim praise, said 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

there was no wotsc to endure. At Mcmticello 
Shefford stood oS a band of desperadoes, and this 
time Sh^ord experienced a strange, sickening shock 
in the wounding of a man. Later he had other 
fights, but in none of them did he know whether or 
not he had shed blood. 

The heat of midsummer came, when the bUstCTing 
sun shone, and a hot blast blew across the sand, 
and the furious storms made floods in the washes. 
Day and night Shefford was always in the open, and 
any one who had ever known him in the past wotdd 
have failed to recognize him now. 

In the early fall, with Nas Ta B^;a as companion, 
he set out to the south of Kayenta upcm long- 
neglected business of the trader. They visited Red 
Lake, Blue Cafion, Keams Canon, Oribi, the'Mold 
villages. Tuba, Moenccpie, and Moen Ave. This 
trip took many weeks and gave Shefford all the 
opportunity he wanted to study the Indians, and 
the conditions nearer to the border of civilization. 
He learned the truth about the Indians and the 
missionaries. 

Upon the return trip he rode over the trail he had 
followed alone to Red Lake and thence on to the 
Sagi, and it seemed that years had passed since he 
first entered this wild region which had come to be 
home, years that had molded him in the stem and 
fiery crucible of the desert. 



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STONBBRIDGB 

IN October Shefford arranged for a hunt in the 
Cresaw Mountains with Joe Lake and Nas 
Ta Bega. The Indian had gone home for a short 
visit, and upon his return the party expected to 
start. But Nas Ta Bega did not come back. Then 
the arrival of a Piute with news that excited Withers 
and greatly perturbed Lake convinced SheSord that 
'sconething was wrong. 

The little trading-post seldom saw such disorder; 
certainly Shefford had never known the trader to 
neglect work. Joe Lake threw a saddle on a mus- 
tang he would have scorned to notice in an ordinary 
moment, and without a word of explanation or 
farewell rode hard to the north on the Stonebridge 
trail. 

Shefford had long since acquired patience. He 
was curious, but he did not care particularly what 
was in the wind. However, when WitJiers came out 
and sent an Indian to drive up the horses Shefford 
could not refrain from a query. 

"I hate to tell you," replied the trader, 

"Go on," added Shefford, quickly. 

"Did I tell you about the government sending a 



A.ioglc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Supreme Court judge out to Utah to prosecute the 
polygamists?" 

"No," replied Shefford. 

"I forgot to, I reckon. You've been away a lot. 
Well, there's been hell up in Utah for six months. 
Lately this judge and his men have worked down 
into southern Utah. He visited Bluff and Monti- 
cello a few weeks ago. . . . Now what do you think?" 

"Withers! Is he coming to Stonebridge?" 

"He's there now. Swne one betrayed the where- 
abouts of the hidden village over in the cafion. All 
the women have been arrested and taken to Stone- 
brii^. The trial begins to-day." 

"Arrested!" echoed Shefford. blankly. "Those 
poor, lonely, good women? What on earth for?" 

"Sealed wives!" exclaimed Withers, tersely. "This 
judge is after the polygamists. They say he's ab- 
solutely relentless." 

"But — women can't be polygamists. Their hus- 
bands are the ones wanted." 

"Sure. But the prosecutors have got to find the 
sealed wives — the second wives — to find the law- 
breaking hiKbands. That '11 be a job, or I don't 
know Mormons. . . . Are you going to ride over to 
Stonebridge with me?" 

Shefford shrank at the idea. Months of toil and 
pain and travail had not been enot^ to make him 
forget the strange girl he had loved. But he had 
remembered only at poignant intervals, and the lapse 
. of time had made thought of her a dream like that 
sad dream which had lured him into the desert. 
With the query of the trader came a bitter-sweet 



bfG oogk 



STONEBRIDGE 

"Better come with me," said Withers. "Have 
you forgotten the Sago Lily? She'll be put on trial. 
. . . That girl — that child ! . , . Shefford, you know she 
hasn't any friends. And now no Mormcai man dare 
protect her, for fear of prosecution." 

"I'll go," replied SheSord, shortly. 

The Indian brought up the horses. Nack-yal was 
thin from his long travel during the hot summer, but 
he was as hard as iron, and the way he pointed his 
keen nose toward the Sagi showed how he wanted to 
make for the upland country, with its clear springs 
and valleys of grass. Withers mounted his bay and 
with a hurried farewell to his wife spurred the mus- 
tang into the trail. SheSord took time to get his 
weapons and the light pack he always carried, and 
then rode out after the trader. 

The pace Withers set was the long, steady lope to 
which these Indian mustangs had been trained all 
their lives. In an hour they reached the mouth of 
the Sagi, and at sight of it it seemed to ShefEord 
that the hard half-year of suffering since he had been 
there had disappeared. Withers, to Shefford's re- 
gret, did not enter the Sagi. He turned off to the 
ncol^ and took a wild trail into a split of the red wall, 
and wound in and out, and climbed a cradc so narrow 
that the light was obscured and the cliSs could be 
reached from both sides of a horse. 

Once up on the wild plateau, SheSord felt again 
in a different world from the barren desert he had 
lately known. The desert had crucified him and* 
had left him to die or survive, according to his spint 
and his strength. If he had loved the glare, the 
endless level, the deceiving distance, the shifting 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

sand, it had CCTtainly not been as he loved this 
softer, wilder, more intimate upland. With the red 
peaks shining up into the blue, and the fragrance of 
cedar and jriilon, and the purple s^e and flowers 
and grass and splash of clear water over stones — 
with these there came back to him something that 
he had lost and which had haunted him. 

It seemed he had returned to this wild upland c£ 
color and cailons and lofty crags and green valleys 
and silent places with a spirit gained from victory 
over himself in the harsher and sterner desert below. 
And, strange to him, he found his old self, the 
dreamer, the artist, the lover of beauty, the searcher 
for he knew not what, come to meet him on the 
fragrant wind. 

He felt this, saw the old wildness with glad eyes, 
yet the greater part of his mind was given over to 
the thought of the tmfortunate women he expected 
to see in Stcmebridge. 

Withers was harder to follow, to keep up with, than 
an Indian. For one thing he was a steady and tire- 
less rider, and for another there were times when he 
had no mercy on a. horse. Then an Indian always 
found easier steps in a trail and shorter cuts. Withers 
put his mount to some bad slopes, and Shefford had 
no choice but to follow. But they crossed the great 
broken bench of upland without mishap, and came 
out upon a promontory of a plateau from which 
Shefford saw a wide valley and the dark-green 
alfalfa fields of Stonebridge. 

Stonebridge lay in the center of a fertile valley 
surrounded by pink cliffs. It must have been a 
very old town, certainly far older than Bluff or 



STONEBRIDGE 

Monticello, though smaller, and evidently it had 
been built to last. There was one main street, very- 
wide, that divided the town and was crossed at 
right angles by a stream q)anned by a small natural 
stone bridge. A Una of poplar-trees shaded each 
foot-path. The little log dabins and stone houses 
and cottages were half hidden in fohage now tinted 
with autumn colors. Toward the center of the town 
the houses and stores and shops fronted upon the 
street and along one side of a green square, or plaza. 
Here were situated several edifices, iJie most prom- 
inent of which was a church built of wood, white- 
washed, and remarkable, according to Withers, for 
the iact that not a nail had been used in its con- 
struction. Beyond the church was a large, low 
structure of stone, with a split -shingle roof, and 
evidently this was the town hall. 

ShefEord saw, before he reached the square, that 
this day in Stonebridge was one of singular action 
and excitement for a Mormon village. The town 
was full of people and, judging from the horses 
hitched everywhere and the big canvas-covered 
wagons, many of the people were visitors. A crowd 
surrounded the hall — a dusty, booted, spurred, shirt- 
sleeved and sombreroed assemblage that did not 
wear the haU-mark Sheflford had come to associate 
with Mormons. They were riders, cowboys, horse- 
wranglers, and some of them SheflEord had seen in 
Durango. Navajos and Piutes were present, also, 
but they loitered in the backgroimd. 

Withers drew ShefEord off to the ade where, imder 
a tree, they hitched their horses. 

"Never saw Stonebridge full of a riffraff gang 
163 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

like this to-day," said Withers. "Ill bet the Mor- 
mons are wild. There's a tough outfit from Duiango. 
If they can get anything to drink — or if they've got it 
— Stonebridge will see smoke to-dayl . , . Come on. 
I'll get in that hall." 

But b^ore Withers reached the hall he started 
violently and pulled up short, then, with apparent 
unconcern, turned to lay a hand upon Shefiord. 
The trader's face had blanched and his eyes grew 
hard and shiny, like flint. He gripped ^eSord's 
arm. 

"Look! Over to your left!" he whispered. "See 
that gang of Indians there — ^by the big wagon. See 
the short Indian with the chaps. He's got a face 
big as a ham, dark, fierce. That's Shaddl . . . You 
ot^ht to know him. Shadd and his outfit here! 
How's that for nerve? But he pulls a rein with the 
Mormons." 

SheSord's keen eye took in a lounging group of 
ten or twelve Indians and several white men. They 
did not present any great contrast to the other 
groups except that they were isolated, appeared 
quiet and watchful, and were all armed. A bimch of 
lean, racy mustangs, restive and spirited, stood 
near by in diarge of an Indian. SheSord had to 
take a second and closer glance to distinguish the 
half-breed. At once he recognized in Shadd the 
broad-faced squat Indian who had paid him a 
threatening visit that night long ago in the mouth of 
the Sagi. A fire ran along Sheffcffd's veins and 
seemed to concaitrate in his breast. Shadd's dark, 
piercing eyes aUghted upon SheSord and rested 
there. Then the half-breed spoke to one of his 
164 



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STONEBRIDGE 

white outlaws and pointed at SheSord. His action 
attracted the attention of others in the gang, and 
for a moment ShefEord and Withers were treated to 
a keen-eyed stare. 

The trader cursed low. "Maybe I wouldn't like 
to mix it with that damned breed," he said. "But 
what choice have we with that gang? Besides, we're 
here on other and more important business. All 
the same, before I foi^et, let me remind you that 
Shadd has had you spotted ever since you came out 
here. A friendly Piute told me only lately. Shef- 
ford, did any Indian between here and Flagstaff ever 
see that bundi of money you persist in carrying?" 

' ' Why, yes, I suppose so — 'way back in Tuba, when 
I first came out," replied Sheffcffd. 

"Huh! WeU, Shadd's after that. . . . Come on 
now, let's get inside the hall." 

The crowd opened for the trader, who appeared to 
be known to everybody. A huge man with a bushy 
beard blocked the way to a shut door. 

"Hello, Meadel" said Withers. "Let us in." 

Tlie man opened the door, permitted Withers and 
SheffOTd to enter, and then dosed it. 

Shefford, coming out of the bright glare of sun 
into the hall, could not see distinctly at first. His 
eyes bliured. He heard a subdued murmur of many 
voices. Withers appeared to be affected with the 
same kind of blindness, for he stood bewildered a 
mwnent. But he recovered sooner than Shefford. 
Gradually the darkness shrouding many obscure 
forms lifted. Withers drew him through a crowd of 
men and women to one side of the hall, and squeezed 
alcmg a wall to a railing where progress was storied. 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Then SheSord raised his head to look with bated 
breath and strange curiodty. 

The hall was large and had many windows. Men 
were in consultation upon a platfonn. Women to 
the number of twenty sat close together upon 
benches. Back of them stood another crowd. But 
the women on the benches held SheSord's gaze. 
They were the prisoners. They made a somber 
group. Some were hooded, some valed, all clad in 
datk gaiments except one on the front bench, and' 
she was dressed in white. She wore a Icaig hood that 
concealed her face. Shefford recognized the hood 
and thrai the slender shape. She was Mary — she 
whom her jealous neighbors had named the Sago 
Lily. At sight of her a sharp pain pierced ShrfEord's 
breast. His eyes were blurred when he forced them 
away from her, and it took a moment for him to see 
clejirly. 

Withers was whispering to him or to some one near 
at hand, but SheflEord did not catch the meaning 
of what was said. He paid more attention ; however. 
Withers ceased iq>eaking. SheSord gazed upon the 
crowd back of him. The women were hooded and 
it was not possible to see what they looked lik^. 
There were many stalwart, clean-cut, young Mor- 
mons of Joe Lake's type, and these men appeared 
troubled, ev&\ distressed and at a loss. There was 
little about them resembling the stem, quiet, som- 
ber austerity of the more matured men, and nothing 
at all of the strange, aloof, serene impassiveness of 
the gray-bearded old patriarchs. These venerable 
. men were the Mormons of the old school, the sons of 
the pioneers, the ruthless fanatics. Instinctively 
166 



,o.^[c 



STONEBRIDGE 

ShefEord felt that it was in them that polygamy was 
Knbodied; they were the husbands of the sealed 
wives. He conceived an absorbing curiosity to 
learn if his instinct was correct; and hard upon that 
followed a hot, hateful eagerness to see which one 
was the husband of Mary. 

"There's Bishop Kane," whi^)ered Withers, nudg- 
ing Shefford. "And there's Wagsoner with him." 

ShefEord saw the bishop, and then beside him a 
man of striking presence. 

"Who's Waggoner?" asked ShefEord, as he looked. 

"He owns more than any Mormon in southern 
Utah," replied the trader. "He's the bi^est man 
in Stonebridge, that's sure. But I don't know his 
relation to the Church. They don't call him elder 
or bishop. But I'll bet he's some pumpkins. He 
never had any use for me or any Gentile. A close- 
fisted, tight-lipped Mormon — a skinflint if I ever saw 
one! Just look him over." 

ShefEord had been looking, and considered it im- 
likely that he would ever forget this individual 
called Waggoner. He seemed old, sixty at least, 
yet at that only in the prime of a wonderful physical 
life. Unlike most of the others, he wore his grizzled 
beard close-crt^ped, so dose that it showed the lean, 
wolfish Hne of his jaw. All his features were of 
striking sharpness. His eyes, of a singularly bril- 
liant blue, were yet cold and pale. The brow had a 
serious, thoughtful cast; long furrows sloped down 
the cheeks. It was a strange, secretive face, full of 
a power that Shefford had not seen in another man's, 
full of intelligenc» and thought that had not been 
used as ShefEord had known them used among men. 

13 167 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

The face mystified Imn. It had so mudi more 
than the strange aloofness so characteristic of his 
fellows. 

"Wagoner had five wives and fifty-five children 
before the law went into eflEect," whisp^ed Withers. 
"Nobody knows and nobody will ever know how 
many he's got now. That's my private opinicm." 

Somehow, after Withers told that, Shefford seemed 
to understand the strange power in Waggoner's face. 
Absolutely it was not the force, the strength given 
to a man from his years of control of men. Shefford, 
long schooled now in his fair-mindedness, fought 
down the feelings of other years, and waited with 
patience. Who was he to judge Waggoner or any 
oliier Mormon? But whenever his glance strayed 
back to the quiet, slender form in white, when he 
realized again and again the appalling nature of 
this court, his heart beat heavy and labtn^d within 
his breast. 

Then a bustle among the men upon the platform 
appeared to indicate that proceedings were about 
to begin. Some men left the platform; several sat 
down at a table upon which were books and papers, 
and others remained standing. These last were all 
roughly garbed, in riding-boots and spurs, and 
Shefford's keen eye detected the bulge of hidden 
weapons. They loolred like deputy-mar^ials upon 
duty. 

Somebody whispered that the judge's name was 
Stone. The name fitted him. He was not young, 
and looked a man suited to the prosecution (rf these 
secret Mormons. He had a ponderous brow, a deep, 
cavernous eye that emitted gleams but betrayed no 
i68 



STONEBRIDGE 

color or expression. His mouth was the saving 
human Feature of his stony face. 

ShefEord took the man upon the judge's right hand 
to be a lawyer, and the one on his left an officer 
of court, p^haps a prosecuting attorney. Presently 
this fellow pounded upon the table and stood up as 
if to address a court-room. Certainly he silenced 
that hallful of people. Then he perfunctorily and 
briefly stated that certain women had been arrested 
upon suspicion of being sealed wives of Mormon 
polygamists, and were to be herewith tried by a. 
judge of the United States Court. Shefford felt 
how the impressive words affected that silent hall 
of listeners, but he gathered from the brief pre- 
liminaries that the trial could not be otherwise 
than a crude, rapid investigation, and perhaps for 
that the more sinister. 

The first woman on the foremost bench was led 
forward by a deputy to a vacant chair on the plat- 
form just in front of the ju(^e's table. She was 
told to sit down, and showed no sign that she had 
heard. Then the judge cotirteously asked her to take 
the chair. She refused. And Stone nodded his 
head as if he had experienced that sort of thing 
before. He stroked his chin wearily, and ShefEord 
conceived an idea Uiat he was a kind man, if he was 
a relentless judge. 

"Please remove your veil," requested the prose- 
cutor. 

The woman did so, and proved to be young and 
hands<Kne. SheflEord had a thrill as he recognized 
her. She was Ruth, who had been one of his best- 
known acquaintances in the hidden village. She 
169 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

was pale, angry, almost sullen, and her breast heaved. 
She had no shame, but she seemed to be outraged. 
Her dark eyes, scornful and blazing, passed over the 
judge and his assistants, and on to the crowd behind 
the railing. Sh^ord, keen as a blade, with all his 
faculties absorbed, fancied he saw Ruth stiffen and 
change shghtly as her glance encountered some one 
in that crowd. Then the prosecutor in dehberate 
and chosen words enjoined her to kiss the Bible 
handed to her and swear to tell the truth. How 
strange for ShefEord to see her kiss the book which 
he had studied for so many years! Stranger still 
to hear the low murmur from the listening audience 
as she took the oath I 

"What is your name?" asl^d Judge Stone, lean- 
ing back and fixing the cavernous eyes upon her. 

"Ruth Jones," was the cool reply. 

"How old are you?" 

"Twenty." 

"Where were you bom?" went on the judge. He 
allowed time for the derk to record her answers. 

"Panguitch, Utah." 

"Were your parents Mormons?" 

"Yes." 

"Are you a Mormon?" 

"Yes." 

"Are you a "married woman?" 

"No." 

The answer was mstant, cold, final. It seemed 
to the truth. Almost Shefford believed she spoke 
truth. The judge stroked his chin and waited a 
moment, and then hesitatingly he went on. 

"Have you — any children?" 



by Google 



STONEBRIDGE 

"No," And the blazing eyes met tne cavernous 
ones. 

That about the children was true enough, Shef- 
ford thought, and he could have testified to it. 

"You Uve in the hidden village near this town?" 

"Yes." 

"What is the name of this village?" 

"It has none." 

"Did jrou ever hear of Fre-donia, another village 
far west of here?" 

"Yes." 

"It is in Arizona, near the Utah line. There are 
few men there. Is it the same kind of village as this 
one in which you live?" 

"Yes." 

"What does Fre-donia mean? The name — has it 
any meaning?" 

"It means free women." 

The judge maintained silence for a moment, 
turned to whisper to his assistants, and presently, 
without glancing up, said to the woman: 

"That will do." 

Ruth was led back to the bench, and the woman 
next to her brought forward. This was a heavier 
person, with the figure and step of a matured woman. 
Upon removing her bonnet she shoWed the plain 
face of a woman of forty, and it was striking only in 
that strange, stony aloofness noted in the older men. 
Here, ShefEord thoi^ht, was the real Mormon, dif- 
ferent in a way he could not define from Ruth. 
This woman seated herself in the chair and calmly 
faced her prosecutors. She manifested no emotion 
whatever. Shefford remembered her and could not 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

See any cihange in her deportment. This trial ap- 
peared to be of little moment to her and she took 
the oath as if doing so had been a habit all her life. 

"What is your name?" asked Judge Stone, glanc- 
ing up from a paper he held. 

"Mary Danton." 

"Fandly or married name?" 

"My husband's name was Dantcm.*' 

"Was. Is he living?" 

"No." 

"Where did you live w&en you were married to 
him?" 

"In St. GecMTge, and later here in Stonebridge." 

"You were both Mormons?" 

"Yes." 

"Did you have any children by him?" 

"Yes." 

"How many?" 

"Two." 

"Are they Hving?" 

"One of them is Uving." 

Judge Stone bent over his paper and then slowly 
raised his eyes to her face. 

"Are you married now?" 

"No." 

Again the judge consulted his notes, and held a 
whispered coUoquy with the two men at his table. 

"Mrs. Danton, when you were arrested there 
were five children found in your home. To whom 
do they belong?" 

"Me." 

"Are you their mother?" 

"Yes." 



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STONEBRIDGE 

"Your husband Danton is the father of only (me, 
the eldest, according to your fonner statement. Is 
that correct?" 

"Yes." 

"Who, then, is liie father — or who are the fathers, 
of your other children?" 

"I do not know." 

She said it with the most stony-faced cahnness, 
with utter disregard of what significance her words 
had. A strong, mystic wall of cold flint insulated 
her. Strangely it came to Shefford how impossible 
either to doubt or believe her. Yet he did both I 
Judge Stone showed a little heat. 

"You don't know the father of one or all of these 
children?" he queried, with sharp rising inflection 
of voice. 

"I do not." 

"Madam, I beg to remind you that you are under 
oath." 

The woman did not reply. 

"These children are nameless, then — illegitimate?" 

"They are." 

"You swear you are not the sealed wife of some 
Mormon?" 

"I swear." 

"How do you live — maintain yourself?" 

"I work." 

"What at?" 

"I weave, sew, bake, and work in my garden." 

"My men made note of your large and comfort- 
able cabin, even liixurious, considering this country. 
How is that?" 

"My husband left me comfortable." 

D J ■.,,!„ Google 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Judge Stone shook a warning filler at the de- 
fendant. 

"Suppose I were to sentence you to jail for per- 
jury? For a year? Pax from your home and 
children! Would you speak — tdl the truth?" 

"I am telling tiie truth. I can't speak what I 
don't know. . . . Send me to jail." 

Baffled, with despairing, angry impatience. Judge 
Stone waved the woman away. 

"That will do for her. Fetch the next one," he 
said. 

One after another he raamined three more women, 
and arrived, by various questions and answers dif- 
ferent in tone and temper, at precisely the same 
point as had been made in the case of Mrs. Dantcoi. 
Thereupon the proceedings rested a few moments 
while the judge consulted with his assistants. 

Shefford was grateful for this respite. He had 
been worked up to an imusual degree of interest, and 
now, as the next Mormon woman to be examined was 
she whom he had loved and loved still, he felt rise in 
him emotion that threatened to make him con- 
spicuous unless it could be hidden. The answers 
of these Mormon women had been not altogether 
tmexpected by him, but once spoken in cold blood 
under oath, how tragic, how appallingly significant 
of the shadow, the mystery, iJie yoke that bound 
them! He was amazed, saddened. He felt bewil- 
dered. He needed to think out the meaning of the 
falsehoods of women he knew to be good and noble. 
Surely religion, instead of fear and loyalty, was the 
foundation and the strength of this disgrace, this 
. sacrifice. Absolutely, shame was not in these women, 
174 



STONEBRIDGE 

though they swore to shameful facts. They had 
been coached to give these baffling answers, every 
one of which seemed to brand them, not the brazen 
mothers of illegitimate offspring, but faithful, un- 
forttmate sealed wives. To Sheffcwd the truth was 
not in their words, but it sat upon their somber 
brows. 

Was it only his he^htened imagination, or did the 
silence and tiie suspense grow more intense when a 
deputy led that dark-hooded, white-clad, slender 
woman to the defendant's chair? She did not walk 
with the poise that had been manifest Jn the other 
women, and she sank into the chair as if she could no 
longer stand. 

"Please remove your hood," requested the prose- 
cutor. 

How well Shefford remembered the strong, shapely 
hands ! He saw them tremble at the knot of ribbon, 
and that tremor was ccanmunicated to him in a 
sympathy which made his pulses beat. He held his 
breath while she removed the hood. And then there 
was revealed, he thoi^ht, the lovehest and the most 
tragic face that ever was seen in a court-room. 

A low, whispering murmur that swelled like a 
wave ran through the hall. And by it Shefford 
divined, as clearly as if the fact had been blazoned - 
on the walls, ihat Mary's face had been unknown to 
these villagers. But the name Sago Lily had not 
been unknown; Shefford heard it whispered on all 
sides. 

The murmuring subsided. The judge and his 

assistants stared at Mary. As for Shefford, there 

was no need of his personal feeling to make the 

I7S 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

situation dramatic. Not improbably Judge Stone 
had tried many Mormon women. But manifestly 
this one was different. Unhooded, Mary appeared 
to be only a young girl, and a court, con&onted sud- 
denly with her youth and the suspicion attached to 
her, could not but have been shocked. Then her 
beauty made her seem, in that somber company, 
indeed the white flower for which she had been 
named. But, more likely, it was her agony that 
bound ihe court into silence which grew painful. 
Perhaps the thought that flashed into Shefford's 
mind was telepathic; it seemed to him that evrty 
watcher there realized that in this defendant the 
judge had a girl of softer mold, of different spirit, 
and from her the bitter truth could be wrung. 

Mary faced the court and the crowd on that side 
of the platform. Unlike the other women, she did 
not look at or seem to see any one behind the railir^. 
Sheff ord was absolutely sure there was not a man or 
a woman who caught her glance. She gazed afar, 
wiHi eyes strained, humid, fearful. 

When the prosecutor swore her to the oath her 
lips were seen to move, but no one heard her speak. 

"What is your name?" asked the judge. 

"Mary." Her voice was low, with a shght tremor. 

"What's your other name?" 

"I won't tell." 

Her singular reply, the tones of her voice, her 
manner before the jut^e, marked her with strange 
simplicity. It was evident that she was not ac- 
customed to questions. 

"What were your parents' names?" 

*'I won't tell," she repKed, very low. 
176 

D3IZ,:I,,G00^|C 



STONEBRIDGE 

Juc^ Stone did not press the point. Perhaps he 
wanted to make the examination as easy as possible 
for her or to wait till she showed more composure. 

"Were your parents Mormons?" he went on. 

"No, sir." She added the sir with a quaint re- 
spect, contrasting markedly with the short replies of 
the women before her. 

"Then you were not bom a Mormon?" 

"No, sir." 

"How old are you?" 

"Seventeen ot eighteen. I'm not sure." 

"You don't know your exact age?" 

"No." 

"Where were you bom?" 

"I won't tell." 

"Was it in Utah?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"How long have you lived in this state?" 

"Always — except last year." 

"And that's been over in the hidden village where 
you were arrested?" 

"Yes." 

"But you often visited here — this town Stone- 
bridge?" 

"I never was here — till yesterday." 

Judge Stone regarded her as if his interest as a 
man was running counter to his duty as an officer. 
Suddenly he leaned forward. 

"Are you a Mormon nowt" he queried, forcibly. 

"No, ar," she replied, and here her voice rose a 
little clearer. 

It was an unratpected reply. Judge Stone stared 

at her. The low buzz ran through the listening 

177 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

crowd. And as for Shefford, he was astounded. 
When his wits flashed back and he weired her 
words and saw in her face truth as clear as light, he 
had the strangest senssttion of joy. Ahuost it 
flooded away the gloom and pain that attended this 
ordeal. 

The judge bent his head to his assistants as if for 
counsd. All of them were eager where formerly 
they had been weary. Shefford glanced around at 
the dark and somber faces, and a slow wrath grew 
within him. Then he caught a glimpse of Waggoner. 
The steel-blue, piercing intensity of the Monncoi's 
gaze impressed him at a moment when all that older 
generation of Mormons looked as hard and immu- 
table as iron. Either Sh^ord was over-exdted and 
mistaken or the hour had become fraught with 
greater suspense. The secret, the mystery, the 
power, the hate, the religion of a strange people were 
thick and tangible in that hall. For Sh^ord the 
feeling of the presence <A Withers on his left was 
entirely different from that of the Mormon on his 
other side. If there was not a shadow there, then the 
sun did not shine so brightly as it had shone when 
he entered. The air seemed clogged with nameless 



"I gather that you've lived mostly in the country 
— away from people?" the judge began. 

"Yes, sir," replied the girl. 

"Do you know anything about the government of 
the United States?" 

"No, sir." 

He pondered ^ain, evidently weighing his quer- 
ies, leading up to the fatal and inevitable question. 
178 

:..., X.OOgW 
/ 



STONEBRIDGE 

Still, his interest in this particular d^endant had 
become visible. 

"Have you any idea of the consequences of 
perjury?" 

"No, sir." 

" Do you understand what perjury is?" 
. "It's to lie." 

"Do you tell lies?" 

"No, sir." 

"Have you ever told a single lie?" 

"Not — yet," she replied, almost whispering. 

It was the answer of a child and afiected the 
judge. He fussed with his papers. Perhaps his 
task was not easy; certainly it was not pleasant. 
Then he leaned forward ^ain and fixed those deep, 
cavernous eyes upon the sad face. 

"Do you understand what a sealed wife is?" 

"I've never been told." 

"But you know there are sealed wives in Utah?" 

"Yes, sir; I've been told that." 

Judge Stone halted there, watching her. The haJl 
was silent exc^t for faint rustlings and here and 
there deep breaths drawn guardedly. The vital 
question hung like a sword over the white-faced 
girL , Perhaps she divined its impending stroke, for 
she sat like a stone with dilating, appealing 'eyes 
upon her executioner. 

"Are you a sealed wife?" he flung at her. 

She could not answer at once. She made effort, 
but the words would not come. He flimg the ques- 
tion ^:ain, sternly. 

"No!" she cried. 

And then there was silence. That poignant word 
179 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

quivered in ShefFord's heart. He believed it was a 
lie. It seemed he would have known it if this hour 
was the first in which he had ever seen the girl. He 
heard, he felt, he sensed the fatal thing. The 
beautiful voice had lacked scnne quality before 
present. And the thing wanting was something 
subtle, an essence, a beautiftd ring — the truth. 
What a hellish thing to make that pure girl a 
liar — a perjurer! The heat deep within ShefEord 
kindled to fire. 

"You are not married?" went on Judge Stone. 

"No, sir," she answered, faintly. 

"Have you ever been married?" 

"No, sir." 

"Do you expect ever to be married?" 

"Oh! No, sir." 

She was ashen pale now, quivaing all over, with 
her strong hands clasping the black hood, and she 
could no longer meet the judge's glance, 

' ' Have you — any — any children ?" the judge 
asked, haltingly. It was a hard question to get out. 

"No." 

Judge Stone leaned far over the table, and that 
his face was purple showed SheSord he was a man. 
His big fist clenched. 

"Girl, you're not going to swear you, too, were 
visited — over there by men . . . You're not going to 
swear that ?" 

"Oh — no, sir!" 

Judge Stone settled back in his chairt and while 
he wiped his moist face that same foreboding m\ir- 
mur, almost a menace, moaned throt^ the hall. 

SheSord was sick in his soul and afraid of himself. 
i8o 



X.oo^^ 



STONEBRIDGE 

He did not know this spirit that flamed up in him. 
His helplessness was a most hateful fact. 

"Come — confess you are a sealed wife," called her 
interrogator. 

She maintained silence, but shook her head. 

Suddenly he seemed to leap forward. 

"Unfortunate child! Confess." 

That forced her to lift her head and face him, yet 
still she did not speak. It was the strength of 
despair. She could not endure much mOTC. 

"Who is your husband?" he thundered at her. 

She rose wildly, terror-stricken. It was terror 
that dominated her, not of the stem judge, for she 
took a faltering step toward him, lifting a shaking 
hand, but of some one or of some thing far more ter- 
rible than any punishment she could have received 
in the sentence of a court. Still she was not proof 
against the judge's will. She had weakened, and 
the terror must have been because of that weakxxiing. 

"Who is the Mormon who visits you?" he thim- 
dered, relentlessly. 

' ' I — never — ^knew — ^his — name." 

"But you'd know his face. Ill arrest every 
Mormon in this country and bring him before you. 
You'd know his face?" 

"Oh, I wouldn't. I couldn't tell! . . . I — never — 
saw his face — in the light!" 

The tragic beauty of her, the certainty of some 
monstrous crime to youth and innocence, the pres- 
ence of an agony and terror that unf athomably seemed 
not to be for herself — ^these transfixed the court and 
the audience, and held them silenced, till she reached 
out blindly and tiien sank in a heap to the floor. 



AFTER THE TRIAL 

SHEFFORD might have leaped over the railing 
but for Withers's restraining hand, and when 
there appeared to be some sign of kindness in those 
other women for the unconscious girl Shefford 
squeezed through the crowd and got out of the hall. 

The gang outside that had been denied admittance 
pressed upon Shefford, with jest and curious query, 
and a good nature that jarred upon him. He was 
far from gentle as he jostled off the first importuning 
fellows; ibe others, gaping at him, opened a lane for 
him to pass through. 

Then there was a hand laid on his shoulder that 
he did not shake off. Nas Ta Bega loomed dark 
and tall beside him. Neither the trader nor Joe 
Lake nor any white man Sh^ord had met influenced 
him as this Navajo. 

"Nas Ta Bega! you here, too. I guess the whole 
country is here. We waited at Kayenta. What 
kept you so long?" 

The Indian, always slow to answer, did not open his 
lips till he drew Shefford apart from the noisy crowd. 

"Bi Nai, there is sorrow in the hogan of Hosteen 
Doetin," he said. 

183 

DiglzMbyGOO^IC 



AFTER THE TRIAL 

"Glen Naspa!" exclaimed Shefford. 

"My sister is gone from the home of her brother. 
She went away alone in the summer." 

"Blue Cafion! She went to the misaonary. 
Nas Ta Bega, I thought I saw her there. But I 
wasn't sure. I didn't want to make sure. I was 
afraid it might be tfue." 

"A brave who loved my sister trailed her there." 

"Nas Ta Bega, will you — ^will we go find her, take 
her home?" 

"No. She will come home some day." 

What bitter sadness and wisdom in his words! 

"But, my friend, that damned missionary — " be- 
gan Shefford, passionately. The Indian had met 
him at a bad hour. 

"Willetts is here. I saw him go in there," inter- 
rupted Nas Ta Bega, and he pointed to the hall. 

"Here! He gets around a good deal," declared 
Shefford. "Nas Ta Bega, what are you going to do 
to him?" 

The Indian held his peace and there was no tell- 
ing from his inscrutable face what might be in his 
mind. He was dark, impassive. He seemed a wise 
and bitter Indian, beyond any savagery of his tribe, 
and the suffering SheSord divined was deep. 

"He'd better keep out of my sight," muttered 
Shefford, more to himself than to his companion. 

"The half-breed is here," said Nas Ta Bega. 

"Shadd? Yes, we saw him. There! He's still 
with his gang. Nas Ta Bega, what are they up to?" 

"They will steal what they can." 

"Withers says Shadd is friendly with the Mor- 
mons." 

>3 183 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"Yes, and with the missionary, too." 

"With Willetts?" 

"I saw them talk together — strong talk." 

"Strange. But maybe it's not so strange. Shadd 
is known well in Monticello and Bluff. He spends 
money there. They are afraid of him, but he's 
welcome just the same. Pa-haps everybody knows 
him. It 'd be like him to ride into Kayenta. But, 
N21S Ta Bega, I've got to look out for him, because 
Withers says he's after me." 

"Bi Nai wears a scar that is proof," said the 
Indian. 

"Then it must be he found out long ago I had a 
Httle money." 

"It mi^t be. But, Bi Nai, the half-breed has a 
strange stq) on your trail." 

"What do you mean?" demanded Shefford. 

"Nas Ta Bega cannot tell what he does not know," 
replied the Navajo, "Let that be. We shall know 
some day. Bi Nai, there is sorrow to tell that is 
not the ^dian's. . . . Sorrow for my brother!" 

Shefford lifted his eyes to the Indian's, and if he did 
not see sadness there he was much deceived. 

"Bi Nai, long ago you told a story to the trader. 
Nas Ta Bega sat before the fire that night. You 
did not know he could understand your language. 
He listened. And he learned what brought you to 
the coimtry of. the Indian. That night he made 
you his brother. ... All his lonely rides into the 
caflons have been to find the little golden-haired child, 
the lost prl — Pay Larkin. . . . Bi Nai, I have found 
the girl you wanted for your sweetheart." 

Shefford was bereft of speech. He could not see 
184 



AFTER THE TRIAL 

steadily, and the last solemn words of the Indian 
seemed far away. 

"Bi Nai, I have found Fay LarJdn," repeated 
Nas Ta Bega. 

"Fay Larkin!" gasped Shefford, shaking his head. 
"But-^«he's dead." 

"It would be less sorrow for Bi Nai if she were 
dead." 

Shefford clutched at the Indian. There was some- 
thing terrible to be revealed, lake an aspen-leaf 
in the wind he shook all over. He divined the 
revelation — divined the 'coming blow — ^but that was 
as far as his mind' got. 

"She's in there," said the Indian, pointing toward 
the hall. 

"Fay Larkin?" whispered Shefford. 

"Yes. BiNai." 

"My God! How do you know? Oh, I could have 
seen. I've been blind. . . . Tell me, Indian. Which 
one?" 

"Fay Larkin is the Sago Lily." 

Shefford strode away into a secluded comer of the 
square, where in the shade and quiet of the trees he 
suffered a storm of heart and mind. During that 
short or long time — ^he had no idea how long — the 
Indian remained with him. He never lost the feel- 
ing of Nas Ta Bega close beside him. "When the 
period of acute pain left him and stnne order began 
to replace the tumult in his mind he felt in Nas Ta 
Bega the same quality — silence or strength car help — ■ 
that he had learned to feel in the deep cafions and 
the lofty crags. He realized then that the Indian 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

was indeed a brother. And Shefford needed him. 
What he had to fight was more fatal than suffering 
and love — it was hate rising out of the unsuspected 
dark gulf of his heart — the instinct to kill — the mur- 
der in his soul. Only now did he come to under- 
stand Jane Withersteen's tragic story and the passion 
of Venters and what had made Lassiter a gun-man. 
The desert had transformed Shefford. The ele- 
ments had entered into his muscle and bone, into 
the very fiber of his heart. Sun, wind, sand, cold, 
stonn, space, stone, the poison cactus, the racking 
toil, the terrible loneliness — ^the iron of the desert 
man, the cruelty of the desert savage, the wildness 
of the mustang, the ferocity of hawk and wolf, the 
bitter struggle of every surviving thing — these were 
as if they had been melted and merged together and 
now made a dark and passionate stream that was 
his throbbing blood. He realized what he had 
becotoe and gloried in it, yet there, looking on with 
grave and earnest eyes, was his old sdf, the man of 
reason, of intellect, of culture, who had been a good 
man despite the failure and shame of his life. And 
he gave heed to the voice of warning, of conscience. 
Not by revengefully seeking the Mormon who had 
ruined Fay Larkin and blindly dealing a wild justice 
could he help this unfortunate girl. This fierce, new- 
bom strength and passion must be temp^^ by 
reason, lest he become merely elemental, a man 
answering wholly to primitive impulses. In the 
darkness of that hour he mined deep into his heart, 
tmderstood himself, trembled at the thing he faced, 
and won his victory. He woidd go forth from that 
hour a man. He might fight, and perhaps there was 



AFTER THE TRIAt 

death in the balance, but hate would never over- 
throw him. - 

Then when he looked at future action he felt a* 
strange, imalterable purpose to save Fay Larkin. 
She was very yoimg — sevaiteen or dghteen, ^e had 
said — and there could be, there must be some happi- 
ness before her. It had been his dream to chase a 
rainbow — it had been his determination to find her 
in the lost Surprise Valley, Well, he had found her. 
It never occurred to him to ask Nas Ta Bega how 
he had discovered that the Sago Lily was Fay 
Larkin. The wonder was, Shefford thought, that 
he had so long been blind himself. How simply 
everything worked out now! Every thought, every 
recollection of her was procrf. Her strange beauty 
like that of the sweet and rare lily, her low voice that 
showed the habit of silence, her shapely hands with 
the clasp strtrng as a man's, her lithe form, her swift 
step, her wonderful agility upon the smooth, steep 
waUs, and the wildness of her upon the heights, and 
the haunting, brooding shadow of her eyes when she 
gazed across the cafions — all these fitted so har- 
moniously the conception of a diild lost in a beauti- 
ful Surprise Valley and growing up in its wildness 
and silence, tutored by the sad love of broken Jane 
and Lassiter. Yes, to save her had been ShefiEord's 
dream, and he had loved that dream. He had loved 
the dream and he had loved the child. The secret 
of her hiding-place as revealed by the story told him 
and his slow growth from dream to action — ^these 
had strangely given Fay Larldn to him. Then had 
come the bitter knowledge that she was dead. 
In the light of this subsequent revelation how easy 
187 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

to account for his loving Mary, too. Never would 
she be Mary again to him! Fay Larkin and the 
Sago Lily were one and the same. She was here, 
near him, and he was powerless for the present to 
help her or to reveal himself. She was held back 
there in that gloomy hall amcmg those somber 
Monnons, alien to the women, bound in some fatal 
way to one of the men, and now, by reason of her 
weakness in the trial, siu^y to be hated. Thinking 
of her past and her present, of the future, and that 
secret Mormon whose face she had never seen, Shef- 
ford felt a inking of his heart, a terrible cold pang 
in his breast, a fainting of his spirit. She had sworn 
she was no sealed wife. But had she not lied? So, 
then, how utterly powerless he was! 

But here to save him, to uplift him, came that 
strange mystic insight which had been the gift of 
the desert to him. She was not dead. He had 
found her. What mattered obstacles, even that im- 
placable creed to which she had been sacrificed, in 
the face of this blessed and overwhelming truth? 
It was as mighty as the love suddenly dawning upon 
him. A strong and terrible and deathly sweet i«^nd 
seemed to fill his soul with the love erf her. It was 
her fate that had drawn him; and now it was her 
agony, her innocence, her beauty, that bound him 
for all time. Patience and cunning and toil, passion 
and blood, the unquenchable spirit of a man to save — 
these were nothing to give — ^Ufe itself were little, 
could he but free her. 

Patience and cunning I His sharpwiing mind cut 
these out as his greatest assets for the present. And 
his thoughts flashed like light through his brain. . . . 



AFTER THE TRIAL 

Judge Stone and his court would fail to convict any 
Moimon in Stonebridge, jilst the same as they had 
failed in the northern towns. They would go away, 
and Stonebridge would fall to the slow, sleepy tenor 
of its former way. The hidden village must become 
known to all men, honest and outlawed, in that 
country, but this fact would hardly make any quick 
change in the plans of the Mormons. They did not 
soon change. They would send the sealed wives 
back to the caflon and, after the excitement had died 
down, visit them as usual. Nothing, perhaps, would 
ever change these old Mormons but death. 

SheSord resolved to remain in Stonebridge and 
ingratiate himself deeper into the r^ard of the 
Mormons. He would find work there, if the sealed 
wives were not returned to the hidden village. In 
case the women went back to the valley ShefEord 
meant to rteume his old duty of driving Withers's 
pack-trains. Wanting that opportunity, he would 
find some other work, some excuse to take him there. 

In due time he would reveal to Fay L-arldn that 
he knew her. How the thoi^ht thrilled him! She 
might deny, might persist in her fear, naight fight 
toieep her secret. But he would learn it — ^hear her 
story — hear what had become of Jane Withersteen 
and Lassiter — and if they were alive, which now he 
believed he would find them — and he would take 
them and Fay out of the country. 

The duty, the great task, held a grim fascination 
for him. He had a foreboding of the cost; he had a 
dark reidization of the force he meant to oppose. 
There were duty here and iMty and imselfish love, 
but these alone did not actuate Shefford. Mystic- 
189 



,oglc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

ally fate seemed again to come like a gleam and bid 
him follow. 

When SheSord and Nas Ta Bega returned to the 
town hall the trial had beoi ended, the hall was 
closed, and only a few Indians and cowboys remained 
in the square, and they were about to depart. On 
the street, however, and the paths and in the door- 
ways of stores were knots of people, talking earnestly. 
Shefford walked up and down, hoping to meet 
Witliers or Joe Lake. Nas Ta Bega said he would 
take the horses to water and feed and then return. 

There were indications that Stonebridge might 
experience swne erf the excitement and perhaps 
violence common to towns like Monticello and 
Durango. There was only one saloon in Stone- 
bridge, and it was full of roystering cowboys and 
horse-wranglers. Shefford saw the bunch of mus- 
tangs, in charge of the samie Indian, that belonged to 
Shadd and his gang. The men were inside, drinking. 
Next door was a tavern called Hopewell House, 
a stone structure of some pretensions. There were 
Indians lounging outside. Shefford entered through 
a, wide door and found himself in a. large bare room, 
boarded like a loft, with no ceiling except the roof. 
The place was full of men and noise. Here he en- 
countered Joe Lake talking to Bishc^ Kane and 
other Mormons. Shefford got a friendly greeting 
from the bishop, and then was well received by the 
strangers, to whom Joe introduced him. 

"Have you seen Withers?" asked Shefford. 

"Reckon he's around somewhere," repUed Joe. 
"Better hang up here, for he'll drop in sooner en* 
later." 

190 • 

DigilidbtGoO^lc 



AFTER THE TRIAL 

"When are you going back to Kayenta?" went 
on Shefford. 

"Hard to say. We'll have to call off our hunt. 
Nas Ta Bega is here, too." 

"Yes, I've been with him." 

The older Mormons drew aside, and then Joe 
mentioned the fact that he was half starved. Shef- 
ford went with him into another clapboard room, 
which was evidently a dining-room. There were 
half a dozen men at the long table. The seat at the 
end was a box, and scarcely large enough or safe 
enough for Joe and SheSord, but they risked it. 

"Saw-you in the hall," said Joe. "Hell — ^wasn't it?" 

"Joe, I never knew how much I dared say to you, 
so I don't talk much. But, it was hell," replied 
Shefford. 

"You needn't be so scared of me," spoke up Joe, 
testily. 

That was the first time Shefford had heard the 
Mormon speak that way. 

"I'm not scared, Joe. But I like you — respect 
you. I can't say so much of — of your people." 

"Did you stick: out the whole mix?" asked Joe. 

' ' No. I had enough when — ^when they got through 
with Mary." Shefford spoke low and dropped his 
head. He heard the Mormon grind his teeth. There 
was silence for a Uttle space while neither man 
looked at the other. 

"Reckon the judge was pretty decent," presently 
s^d Joe. 

"Yes, I thought so. He might have — " But 
Shefford did not finish that sentence. "How'd the 
thing end?" 



by Google 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"It ended all right." 

"Was there no conviction — no sentence?" Shrf- 
ford felt a curious eagerness. 

"Naw," he snorted. "That court mi^t have 
saved its breath." 

"I suppose. Well, Joe, between you and me, as 
old friends now, that trial establ^ed one fact, 
even if it couldn't be proved. . . . Those women are 
sealed wives." 

Joe had no reply for tliat. He looked gloomy, 
and there was a stem line in his lips. To-day he 
seemed more like a Mormon. 

"Judge St<me knew that as well as I knew," went 
on SheSord. "Any man of penetration could have 
seen it. What an ordeal that was for good women 
to go through! I know they're good. And there 
they were swearing to — " 

"Didn't it make me sick?" interrupted Joe in a 
kind of growl. "Reckon it made Judge Stone sick, 
too. After Mary went under he conducted that 
trial like a man cuttin' out steers at a rotmd-up. 
He wanted to get it over. He never forced any 
question. . . . Bad job to ride down Stonebridge way ! 
It's out of creation. There's only six men in the 
pariy, with a poor lot of horses. Really, govemmrait 
officers or not, they're not safe. And they've taken 
a hunch." 

"Have they Irft already?" inquired Shefford. 

"Were packed an hour ago. I didn't see them 
go, but somebody said they went. Took the trail 
for Bluff, which sure is the only trail they could take, 
unless they wanted to go to Colorado by way of 
Kayenta. That might have been the safest trail." 



AFTER THE TRIAL 

"Joe, what might haKien to them?" asked Shef- 
fco'd, quietly, with eyes on the Mormon. 

"Aw, you know that rough trail. Bad on horses. 
Weathered slopes — slipping ledges — a rock might 
fal| on you any time. Then Shadd's here with his 
gang. And bsid Piutes." 

"What became of the women?" SheSord asked, 
presently. 

"They're around among friends." 

"Where are their children?" 

"Left over there with the old women. Couldn't 
be fetched over. But there are some pretty young 
babies in that bunch — need their moth^s." 

"I should — think so," repUed Shefford, constrain- 
edly. "When will their mothers get back to them?" 

"To-night, maybe, if this mob of cow-punchers 
and wranglers get out of town. . . . It's a bad mix, 
Shefford, here's a hunch on that. These fellows will 
get full of whisky. And trouble might come if they 
— approach the women." 

"You mean they might get drunk enough to take 
the oaths of those poor women — take the meaning 
Uterally — pretend to believe the women what they 
swore they were?" 

"Reckon you've got the hunch," replied Joe, 
gloomily. 

"My God! man, that would be horrible I" ex- 
claimed Shefford. 

"Horrible or not, it's liable to happen. The 
women can be kept here yet awhile. Reckon there 
won't be any trouble here. It '11 be over there in 
the valley. Shefford, getting the women over there 
safe is a job that's been put to me. I've got a bunch 



X.oo^k 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

of fellows already. Can I count on you? I'm glad 
to say you're well thought of. Bishop Kane liked 
you, and what he says goes." 

"Yes, Joe, you can count on me," repEed Sh^ord. 

They finished their meal then and repaired to the 
big office-room of the house. Several groups of men 
were there and loud talk was going on outside. 
Shefford saw Withers talking to Bishop Kane and 
two otiier Mormons, both strangers to Sheffcrd. 
The trader appeared to be speaking with unwonted 
force, emphasizing his words with energetic move- 
ments of his hands. 

' ' Reckon something's up, " whispered Joe, hoarsely. 
"It's been in the^iir all day." 

Withers must have been watching fOT Shefford. 

"Here's SheSord now," he said to the trio of 
Mormons, as Joe and SheSord reached the group. 
"I want you to hear him speak for himself." 

"What's the matter?" asked Shefford. 

"Give me a hunch and I'll put in my say-so," said 
Joe Lake. 

"Shefford, it's the matter of a good name more 
than a job," replied the trader. "A Uttle while back 
I told the bishop I meant to put you on the pack 
job over to the valley — same as when you first came 
to me. Well, the bishop was pleased and said he 
mi^t put something in your way. Just now I ran 
in here to find you — ^not wanted. When I kicked 
I got the straight hunch. Willetts has said things 
about you. One of them — ^the one that sticks in fliy 
craw — ^was that you'd do anything, even pretend to 
be inclined toward Mormonism, just to be among 
those Mormon women over there. Willetts is your 



X.oo^k 



AFTER THE TRIAL 

enemy. And he's worse than I thou^t. Now I 
want you to tell Bishop Kane why this raJssionary 
is bitter toward you." 

"Gentlemen, I knocked him down," replied Shef- 
ford, simply. 

"What for?" inquired the Wshop, in surprise and 
curiosity. 

Shefford related the incident which had occurred 
at Red Lake and that now seemed again to come 
forward fatefuUy. 

"You insinuate he had evil intent toward the 
Indian girl?" queried Kane. 

' ' I insinuate nothing. I merely state what led to 
my acting as I did." 

"Principles of religion, sir?" 

"No. A man's principles." 

Withers interposed in his blunt way, "Bishop, did 
you ever see Glen Naspa?" 

"No." 

"She's the prettiest Navajo in the cotmtry. Wil- 
letts was after her, that's all." 

"My dear man, I can't believe that of a Christian 
missionaTy. We've known Willetts for years. He's 
a man of influence. He has money back of h i m . 
He's doing a good work. You hint of a love re- 
lation." 

"No, I don't hint," replied Withers, impatiently. 
"I know. It's not the first time I've known a 
missionary to do this sort of thing. Nor is it the 
first time for Willetts. Bishop Kane. I live among 
the Indians. I see a lot I never speak of. My work 
is to trade with the Indians, that's all. But I'll not 
have Willetts or any other damned hypocrite run 



,oglc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

down my friend here. John She£Eord is the finest 
young man that ever came to me in the desert. And 
he's got to be put right before you all or I'll not set 
foot in Stonebridge again. . . . Willetts was after 
Glen Naspa. SheSord punched him. And later 
threw him out of the old Indian's hogan up on the 
mountain. That explains WiUetts's enmity. He 
was after the girl." 

"What's more, gentlemen, he got her," added 
ShefEord. "Glen Naspa has not been home for six 
months. I saw her at Blue Canon. ... I would like 
to face this Willetts before you all." 

"Ealsy enough," repUed Withers, with a grim 
chuckle. "He's just outside." 

The trader went out; Joe Lake followed at his 
heels and the three Mormons were next; Shefford 
brought up the rear and lingered in the door while 
his eye swept the crowd of men and Indians. His 
feeling was in direct contrast to his movements. 
He felt the throbbing of fierce anger. But it seemed 
a face came between him and his passion — a sweet 
and tragic face that would have had power to check 
him in a vastly more critical moment than this. And 
in an instant he had himself in hand, and, strangely, 
suddenly felt the strength that had come to him. 

Willetts stood in earnest colloquy with a short, 
squat Indian — the half-breed Shadd. They leaned 
against a hJtching-rail. Other Indians were there, 
and outlaws. It was a mixed group, roi^ and hard- 
looking. 

"Hey, Willetts!" called ihe trader, and his loud, 
rinjjng voice, not pleasant, stilled the movement 
and sound. 

196 



AFTER THE TRIAL 

When Willetts turned, ShefEord was half-way 
across t^e wide walk. The misdonary not only 
saw him, but also Nas Ta Bega, who was striding 
forward. Joe Lake was ahead of the trader, the 
Monnons followed with decision, and they all con- 
fronted Willetts. He turned pale. Shadd had cau- 
tiously moved along the rail, nearer to his gang, and 
then they, with the others of the curious crowd, 
drew closer. 

"Willetts, here's Shefford. Now say it to his 
face!" declared the trader. He was angry and 
evidently wanted the fact known, as well as the 
situation. 

Willetts had paled, but he showed boldness. For 
an instant Shefford studied the smooth face, with 
its sloping lines, the dark, wine-colored eyes. 

"Willetts, I tradra^tand you've maligned me to 
Bishop Kane and others," began Shefford, curtly. 

"I called you an atheist," returned the missionsiry, 
harshly. 

"Yes, and more than that. And I told these men 
why you vented your spite on me." 

Willetts uttered a half-laugh, an uneasy, con- 
temptuous expression of scorn and repudiation. 

"The diarges of such a man as you are can't 
hurt me," he said. 

The man did not show fear so much as disgust at 
the meeting. He seemed to be absorbed in thought, 
yet no serious consideration of the situation made 
itself manifest. Sheffcoti felt puzzled. Perhaps 
there was no fire to strike from tiiis man. The des- 
ert had certainly not made Tiitn flint. He had not 
toiled or suffered or fought. 
197 

DiglicJbvGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"But I can hurt you," thundered Shdford, with 
startling suddenness. "Here! Ixx^ at this Indian! 
Do you know him? Glen Naspa's brother. Look 
at hirn . Let us see you face him while I accuse you. 
. . . You made love to Glen Naspa — took her from 
her hornet" 

"Harping infidd!" replied Willetts, hoarsely. 
"So that's your game. Well, Glen Naspa came to 
my School of her own accord and she will say so." 

"Why will she? Because you blinded the simple 

Indian girl Willetts, I'll waste little more time on 

you." 

And swift and light as a panther SheSord leaped 
upon the man and, fastening powerful hands round 
the thick neck, bore h\rt\ to his knees and bent back 
his head over the rail. There was a convulsive 
struggle, a hard flinging of arms, a straining wrestle, 
and then Willetts was in a dreadful position. Shef~ 
ford held him in iron grasp. . 

"You damned, white-livered hypocrite — ^I'm liable 
to kill you!" cried SheflEord. "I watched you and 
Glen Naspa that day up on the mountain. I saw you 
embrace her. I saw that she loved you. Tell that, 
you liarl That '11 be enough." 

The face of the nussionary turned purple as Shrf- 
ford forced his head back over the rail. 

"I'll kill you, man," repeated Shefford, piercingly. 
"Do you want to go to your God xmprepared? 
Say you made love to Glen Naspa — tell that you 
persuaded her to leave her home. Quick !'* 

Willetts raised a shaking hand and then Shefford 

relaxed the paralyzing grip and let his head come 

forward. The half -strangled man gasped out a few 

198 



AFTER THE TRIAL 

incoherent words that his livid, guilty face made 
unnecessary. 

Shefford gave him a shove and he fell into the dust 
at the feet of the Navajo. 

"Gentlemen, I leave him to Nas Ta Bega," said 
Shefford, with a strange change from pasdon to 
cahnness. 

Late that night, when the roystering visitors had 
gone or were deep in drunken slumber, a melancholy 
and strange procession filed out of Stonebridge. 
Joe Lake and his armed comrades were escorting the 
Mormon women back to the hidden valley. They 
were mounted on burros and mustangs, and in aU 
that dark and somber line there was only one figure 
which shone white tinder the pale moon. 

At the starting, until that white-clad figure had 
appeared, SheSord's heart had seemed to be in his 
throat; and thereafter its beat was muffled and 
painful in his breast. Yet there was some sad 
sweetness in the knowledge that he could see her 
now, be near her, watch over her. 

By and by the overcast ckmds drifted and the 
moon shone bright. The night was still; the great 
dark mountain loomed to the stars; the numberless 
waves of rounded rock that miast be crossed and 
circled lay deep in shadow. TTiere was only a 
steady pattering of Ught hoofs. 

Shefiord's place was near the end of the line, and 
he kept well back, riding close to one woman and 
then another. No word was spoken. These sealed 
wives rode where their mounts were led or driven, 
as blind in their hoods as veiled Arab wranen in 
14 199 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

palanquins. And their heads drooped wearily and 
their Moulders bent, as if under a burden. It took 
an hour of steady riding to reach the ascent to the 
plateau, and here, with the beginning of rough and 
smooth and shadowed trail, the work of the escort 
began. The line lengthened out and each man kept 
to the several women assigned to him. Shefford 
had three, and one of them was the girl he loved. 
She rode as if the world and time and life were 
naught to her. As soon as he dared trust his voice 
and his control he meant to let her know the man 
whom perhaps she had not foi^otten was there with 
her, a friend. ^ months! It had been a lifetime 
to him. Surely eternity to her ! Had she forgotten ? 
He felt like a coward who had basely deserted her. 
Oh — had he only known ! 

She rode a burro that was slow, continually blodc- 
ing the passage for those behind, and eventually it 
became lame. Thus the other women forged ahead. 
Shefford dismounted and stopped her burro. It 
was a moment before she noted the halt, and twice 
in that time Shefford tried to speak and failed. 
What poignant pain, regret, love made his utterance 
fail! 

"Ride my horse," he finally said, and his voice 
was not like his own. 

Oliediently and wearily she dismounted frcon the 
burro and got up on Nack-yal. The stirrups were 
' long for her and he had to change them. His fingers 
were all thumbs as he fumbled with the buckles. 

Suddenly he became aware that there had been a 
subtle change in her. He knew it without looking 
up and he seemed to be imable to go on with his 



AFTER THE TRIAL 

task. If his life had depended upon keeping his 
head lowered he could not have done it. The 
listlessness of her drooping form was no longer 
manifest. The peak of the dark hood pointed toward 
him. He knew then that she was gazing at him. 

Never so long as he lived would that moment 
be forgotten! They were alone. The others had 
gotten so far ahead that no sound came back. 
The stillness was so deep it could be felt. The moon 
shone with white, cold radiance and the shining 
slopes of smooth stone waved away, crossed by 
shadows of pinons. 

Then she leaned a Uttle toward bim. One swift 
hand flew up to tear the black hood back so that she 
could see. In its place flashed her white face. And 
her eyes were like the night. 

"You!" she whispered. 

His blood came leaping to sting neck and cheek 
and temple. What dared he interpret frcon that 
single word i Could any ot^er word have meant so 
much? 

"No — one — else," he replied, imsteadily. 

Her white hand flashed again to him, and he met 
it with bis own. He felt himself standing cold and 
motionless in the moonlight. He saw her, wonder- 
ful, with the deep, shadowy eyes, and a silver sheen 
on her hair. And as he looked she released her 
hand and lifted it, with the other, to her hood. He 
saw the shiny hair darken and disappear — and then 
the lovdy fBce with its sad eyes and tragic lips. 

He drew Nack-yal's bridle forward, and led him 
up the moonUt trail. 



bf Google 



THE BBTBIJiTION 

THE following afternoon cowboys and horse- 
wranglers, keen-eyed as Indians for tracks and 
trails, began to arrive in the qiiiet valley t;p which 
the Mormon women had been returned. 

Under every cedar dun^ there were hobbled 
horses, packs, and rolled bedding in tarpaulins. 
Shefford and Joe Lake had pitched camp in the old 
site near the spring. The other men of Joe's escort 
went to the homes of the women ; and that afternoon, 
as the curious victors began to arrive, these homes 
became barred and daxk and quiet, as if they had 
been closed and deserted for the winter. Not a 
woman showed hersdf. 

Shefford and Joe, by reason of the location of their 
camp and their alertness, met all the new-comers. 
ITie ride from Stonebridge was a long and hard one, 
calculated to wear off the effects of the whisky im- 
bibed by the adventure-seekers. This fact alone 
saved the situation. Nevertheless, Joe expected 
trouble. Most of the visitors were decent, good- 
natured fdlows, merely curious, and simple enough 
to believe that tiiis really was what the Mormons 
had claimed — a village ot free women. But there 



,og[c 



THE REVELATION 

were those among them who were coarse, e^nl- 
minded, and dangerous. 

By supper-time there were two dozen or more of 
these men in the valley, camped along the west wall. 
Fires were lighted, smoke curled up over the cedars, 
gay soi^ disturbed the usual serenity of the place. 
Later in the early twilight the curious victors, by 
twos and threes, walked about the village, peering 
at the dark cabins and jesting among themselves. 
Joe had informed Shefiord that all the women had 
been put in a limited number of cabins, so that tiiey 
could be protected. So far as Shefford saw or heard 
there was no impleasant incident in the village; 
however, as the sauntering visitors returned toward 
thdr camps they loitered at tiie spring, and here 
developments threatened. 

In spite of the fact that the majority ot these cow- 
boys and thrir comrades were decent-minded and 
beginning to see the real relation of things, they were 
not disposed to be civil to Shefford. They were 
certainly not Mormons. And his position, ap- 
parently as a Gentile, among these Mormons was one 
open to criticism. They might have been jealous, 
too; at any rate, remarks were passed in his hearing, 
meant for his ears, that made it exceedingly trying 
fcM: him not to resent. Moreover, Joe Lake's in- 
creasing impatience rendered the situation more 
diEBcult. SheSord welcomed the arrival of Nas Ta 
Bega. The Indian listened to the loud talk of 
several loungers round the camp-fire; and thereaf- 
ter he was like Sh^ord's shadow, silent, somber, 
watchful. 

Nevertheless, it did not happen to be one of the 



,C,„og[c 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

friendly and sarcastic cowboys that precipitated the 
crisis. A horse-wrangler named Hurley, a man of 
bad repute, as mtich outlaw as anything, took up 
the bantering. 

"Say, Shefford, what in the hell's your job here, 
anyway?" he queried as he kicked a cedar branch 
into the camp-fire. The brightening blaze showed 
him swarthy, tmshaven, a large-featured, ugly man. 

"I've been doing odd jobs for Withers," replied 
Shefford. "Expect to drive pack-trains in here for 
a while." 

"You must stand strong with these Mormons. 
Must be a Mormon yerself?" 

"No," replied SheffOTd, briefly. 

"Wal, I'm stuck on your job. Do you need a 
paclffir? I can throw a diamond-hitch better 'n any 
feller in this ODuntry." 

"I don't need help." 

"Mebbe you'll take me over to see the ladies " he 
. went on, with a coarse laugh. 

Shefford did not show that he had heard. Hurley 
wmted, leering as be looked from the keen listeners to 
Shefford. 

"Want to have them all yerself, di?" he jeered. 

Shefford struck him — sent him ttmibling heavily, 
like a log. Hurley, cursing as he half rose, jerked 
his gun out. Nas Ta Bega, swift as U^t, kicked the 
gun out d his hand. And Joe Lake picked it up. 

Deliberately the Mormon cocked the weapon and 
stood over Hurley. 

"Get up!" he ordered, and Sheffcnd heard the 
ruthless Mormon in him then. 

Hurley rose slowly. Then Joe prodded him in 

304 



THE REVELATION 

the middle with the cocked gtm. Sheffcnrd, startled, 
expected the gun to go trfE. So did the ottiers, es- 
pecially Hurley, who shrank in panic from the dark 
Mormon. 

"Rustle!" said Joe, and gave the man a harder 
prod. Assuredly the gun did not have a hair- 
trigger, 

"Joe, mebbe it's loaded!" protested one ot the 
cowboys. 

Hurley shrank back, and turned to hurry away, 
with Joe close after him. They disappeared in the 
darkness. A constrained dlence was maintained 
around the camp-fire for a while. Presently some 
of the men walked o£E and otliers began to ccmverse. 
Everybody heard the sound of hoofs pasang down 
the trail. The patter ceased, and in a few moments 
Lake returned. He still carried Hurley's gun. 

The crowd dispersed then. There was no indica- 
tion of further trouble. However, Sh^ord and 
Joe and Nas Ta Bega divided the night in watches, 
so that some cme would be wide awake. 

Early next morning there was an exodus frcmi the 
village of the better element among the visit<H^ 
"No fun hangin' round hyar," one of them expressed 
it, and as good-naturedly as they had come they 
rode away. Six or seven of the desperado class re- 
mained behind, bent on mischief; and they were 
reinforced by more arrivals from Stonebric^. They 
avcnded the camp by the spring, and when SheSord 
and Lake attempted to go to them they gave them 
a wide berth. This caused Joe to assert that they 
were up to some dirty work. All morning they 
lounged around under the cedars, keeping out of 



X.oog\, 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

sight, and evidently the reinforcement from Stone- 
bridge had iMwight liquor. When they gathered 
together at thdr camp, half drunk, all noisy, some 
wanting to swagger oS into the vUlage and others 
trying to hold them back, Joe Lake said, grimly, that 
somebody was going to get shot. Indeed, Shefford 
saw that there was every likelihood of bloodshed. 

"Reckon we'd better take to one of the cabins," 
said Joe. 

Thereupon the three repaired to the nearest cabin, 
and, entering, kept watch from the windows. Dur- 
ing a couple of hours, however, they did not see or 
hear anything of the rufiBans. Then came a shot 
from over in the village, a single yell, and, after that, 
a scattering volley. The silence and susp«ise which 
followed were finally broken by hoof -beats, Nas Ta 
Bega called Joe and SheSord to the window he had 
been stationed at. Prom here they saw the imwel- 
came visitors ride down tiie trail, to disappear in the 
cedars toward the outlet of the valley. Joe, who had 
numbered them, said that all but one of them had 
gone. 

"Reckon he got it," added Joe. 

So indeed it turned out; one of the men, a well- 
known rustler named Harker, had been killed, by 
whom no one seemed to know. He had brazenly 
tried to force his way into one of the houses, and the 
act had cost him his life. Naturally Shefford, never 
free from his civilized habit of thought, rranarked 
apprehenfflvely that he hoped this affair would not 
cause the poor women to be arrested again and 
haled before some rude court. 

"Law!" grunted Joe. "There ain't any. The 
3o6 



,og[c 



THE REVELATION 

nearest sheriff is in Durango. That's Colorado. 
And he'd give us a medal for killing Harker. It was 
a good job, for it '11 teach these rowdies a lesstm." 

The Mormons, notwithstanding their indifference 
to the killing of the desperado, gave him decent 
Imrial and prayed for his soul. 

Next day the old order of life was resumed in the 
villa^ And the arrival of a heavily laden pack- 
train, under the guidance of Withers, attested to the 
fact that the Mormons meant not only to ccmtinue 
to live in the valley, but also to build and plant and 
enlarge. This was good news to Shefford. At least 
the village could be made less lonely. And there 
was plenty of work to give him excuse for staying 
there. Furthermore, Withers brought a message 
from Bishop Kane to the effect that the young man 
was offered a place as teacher in the school, in co- 
operation with the Mormon teachers. Shefford ex- 
perienced no twinge of conscience when he accepted. 

It was the fourth evening after the never-to-be- 
forgotten moonhght ride to the valley that Shefford 
passed under the dark pifion-trees on his way to 
Fay Larkin's cottage. He paused in the gloom and 
memory beset him. The six mcmths were anni- 
hilated, and it was the night he had fled. But now 
all was silent. He seemed to be trying to drag him- 
self back. A beginning must be made. Only how 
to meet her — ^what to say — ^what to conceal! 

He tapped on the door and she came out. After 
all, it was a meeting vastly different from what his 
feeling made him imagine it might have been. She 
was nervous, frightened, as were all the other wom^i, 
for that matter. She was alone in the cottage. He 
307 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

made haste to reassure her about the improl^bility 
of any further trouble such as had befallen the last 
week. As he had always done on those former visits 
to her, he talked rapidly, using all his wit, and here 
his emotion made him eloquent; he avoided per- 
sonalities, except to tell about his prospects c^ work 
in the village, and he sou^t above all to lead her 
mind from thot^t c^ herself and her condition. 
Before he left her he had the gladness of knowing he 
had succeeded. 

When he said good night he felt the strange falsity 
of his position. He did not expect to be able to ke^ 
up the deception for long. That roused him, and 
half the night he lay awake, thinking. Next day he 
was the life of the work and study and play in that 
village. Kindness and good-will did not need in- 
spiration, but it was keen, deep passicm that made 
him a plotter for influence and friendship. Was 
there a woman in the village whom he might trust, 
in case he needed one? And his instinct guided him 
to her whom he had liked well — Ruth. Ruth Jones 
she had called herself at the trial, and when Sheffcod 
used the name she laughed mockingly. Ruth was 
not very religious, and sometimes she was bitter and 
hard. She wanted life, and here she was a priscmer 
in a lonely valley. She welcomed Shefford's visits. 
He imagined that she had slightly changed, and 
whether it was the added six months with its trouble 
and pain or a growing revolt he could not tell. After 
a time he divined that the inevitable retrogresaon 
had set in : she had not enough faith to uphold the 
burden she had accepted, nor the courage to cast it 
off. She was ready to love him. That did not 



.Cooglc 



THE REVELATION 

frighten ShefEcffd, and if die did love him he was not 
so sure it would not be an anchor for her. He saw 
her danger, and then he became what he had never 
really been in all the days of his ministry — the real 
helper. Unselfishly, for her sake, he found power 
to influence her; and selfishly, for the sake of Fay 
Larkin, he began slowly to win her to a possible need. 

Tlie days passed swiftly. Mormons came and 
went, thoi^ in the open day, as laborers; newcabins 
went up, and a store, and other inqjrovements. 
Some part of every evening SheflEord spent with Fay, 
and these visits were no longer unknown to the 
village. Women gossiped, in a friendly way about 
Shefiord, but with jealous tongues about the girl. 
Joe Lake told Shefiord the run of the village talk. 
Anything concerning the Sago Lily the drdl Mor- 
mon took to heart. He had been hard hit, and ad- 
mitted it. ' Sometimes he went with SheflEord to call 
upon her, but he talked little and never remained 
long. SheSord had anticipated antagonism on the 
part of Joe; however, he did not find it. 

Shefford really lived through the busy day for that 
hour with Fay in the twilight. And every evening 
seemed the same. He would find her in the dark, 
alone, silent, brooding, hopeless. Her mood did not 
puzzle him, but how to keep from pltmging her 
deeper into despair baffled him. He exhausted all 
his powers trying to do for her what he had been 
able to do for Ruth. Yet he failed. Something 
had blunted her. The shadow of that baneful trial 
hovered over her, and he came to sense a strange 
terror in her. It was mostly always present. Was 
she thinking of Jane Withersteen and Lassiter, left 
309 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

dead or imprisoned in the valley 6t)m which she 
had been brou^t so mysteriously ? SheSord wearied 
hU brain revolving tiiese questions. The fate cS 
her friends, and the cross she bore — of these was 
tragedy bom, but the terror — that SheSord divined 
came of waiting ftn* the visit of the MoTznon whose 
face she had never seen. SheSord prayed that he 
might never meet this man. Finally he grew desper- 
ate. When he first arrived at the girl's home she 
would speak, she showed gladness, relief, and then 
straightway she dropped back into the shadow of 
her gloom. When he got up to go then there was a 
wistfulness, an unspoken need, an unconscious re- 
liance, in her reluctant good night. 

Then the hour came when he readied his limit. 
He must begin his revelation. 

"Yoii never ask me anything— let alone about 
myself," he said. 

"I'd like to hear," she replied, timidly. 

"Do I strike you as an unhappy man?" 

"No, indeed." 

"Well, how do I strike you?" 

This was an entirely new tack he had veered to. 

"Very good and kind to us wcmien," she said. 

"I don't know about that. If I am so, it doesn't 
bring me happiness. ... Do you remember what I 
told you once, about my being a preacher — disgrace, 
ruin, and all that — and my rainbow-chasing dream 
out here after a — a lost girl ?" 

"I — rememberall — ^yousaid,"sherepIied, verylow. 

"listen." His voice was a little husky, but be- 
hind it there seemed a tide of resistless utterance. 
"Loss of faith and name did not send me to this 



THE REVELATION 

wilderness. But I had love — ^love for that lost girl, 
FayLarkin. I dreamed about her till I loved her. I 
dimmed that I would find her — my treasure — at the 
foot of a rainbow. Dreams! . . . When you told 
me she was dead I accepted that. There was truth 
in your voice. I respected your reticence. But 
son^thing died in me then. I lost myself, the best 
of me, the good that might have uplifted me. I 
went away, down upon the barren d^ert, and there 
I rode and slept and grew into another and a harder 
man. Yet, strange to say, I never forgot her, 
though my dreams were done. As I toiled and suf- 
fered and changed I loved her — if not her, the thought 
of her — more and more. Now I have come back to 
these walled valleys — ^to the smell of pifion, to the 
flowers in the nooks, to the wind on the heights, to 
the ^ence and loneliness and beauty. And here 
the dreams come back and she is iviUt me always. 
Her spirit is all that keeps me kind and good, as 
you say I am. But I suffer, X long for her aHve. 
If I love her desid, how could X love her living! Al- 
ways I torture myself with the vain dream that — ^Uiat 
she might not be dead. I have never been anything 
but a dreamer. And here I go about my work by 
day and He awake at night with that lost girl in my 
mind. . . .Iloveher. Does that seem strange to you? 
But it would not if you understood. Think. I had 
lost faith, hope. I set myself a great work— to find 
Fay Larkin. And by the fire and the iron and the 
blood that I felt it would cost to save her some faith 
must come to me again. . . . My work is undone — 
I've never saved her. But listen, how strange it is 
to feel — now— as I let myself go — ^that just the lov- 



A.ioglc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

ing her and the living here in the midness that holds 
her somewhere have brought me hope again. Some 
faith must come, too. It was through her that I 
met this Indian, Nas Ta Bega. He has saved my 
life — ^taught me much. What would I ever have 
learned of the naked and vast earth, of the sublimity 
of the wild uplands, of the storm and night and sun, 
if I had not followed a gleam she inspired? In my 
himt for a lost girl perhaps I wandered into a place 
where I shall find a God and my salvation. Do you 
marvel that I love Fay Larkin — ^that she is not dead 
to me ? Do you marvel that I love her, when I know, 
were she alive, chained in a canon, or botuid, or lost 
in any way, my destiny would lead me to her, and 
she should be saved?" 

Sh^ord ended, overcome with emotion. In the 
dusk he could not see the girl's face, but the white 
form that had drooped so listlessly seemed now 
chai^ied by some vitalizing current. He knew he 
had spoken irrationally; still he held it no dishonor 
to have told her he loved her as one dead. If she 
took that love to the secret heart of living Fay Larkin, 
then perhaps a sprit might light in her darkened 
soul. He had no thought yet that Fay Larkin might 
ever belong to him. He divined a crime — he had 
seen her agony. And this avowal of his was only 
one step toward her deliverance. 

Softly she rose, retreating into the shadow. 

"Forgive me if I — I disturb you, distress you," he 
said. "I wanted to tell you. She was — somehow 
known to you. I am not happy. And are you 
happy? . , . Let her memory be a bond between us. 
. . . Good night." 



by Google 



THE REVELATION 

"Good night." 

Faintly as the faintest whig)er breathed her reply, 
and, though it came firan a child forced into wcanan- 
hood, it whispered of girlhood not dead, erf sweet 
incredulity, of amazed tumult, of a wondering, frantic 
desire to run and hide, of the bewilderment incident 
to a first hint of love. 

ShefEord walked away into the darkness. The 
whisper filled his soul. Had a word of love ever 
been spoken to that girl? Never — not the love 
which had been on his lips. Fay Larldn's lonely life 
spoke clearly in her whisper. 

Next morning as the sun gilded the looming peaks 
and shafts of gold slanted into the valley she came 
swiftly down the path to the spring. 

ShdSord paused in his task of chopinng wood. 
Joe Lake, on his knees, with his big hands in a pan 
of dough, lifted his head to stare. She had left oS 
the somber black hood, and, althouf^ that made a 
vast difference in her, still it was not enough to ac- 
count for what struck both men. 

"Good morning," she called, brightly. 

They both answered, but not spontaneously. She 
stopped at the spring and with one sweep erf her 
strong arm filled the buclret and lifted it. Then 
she started back down the path and, pausing oppo- 
site the camp, set the bucket down. 

"Joe, do you still pride youfself on your sour 
dough?" she asked. 

"Reckon I do," replied Joe, with a grin. 

"I*ve heard your boasts, but never tasted your 
bread," she went on. 

213 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"111 ask you to eat with us some day." 

"Don't forget," she replied. 

And then shyly she looked at Shefford. She was 
like the fresh dawn, and the gold of the sun shone 
on her head. 

"Have you chopped all that wood — so early?" she 



"Sure," replied Shefford, lau^iing. "I have to 
get up early to keep Joe frcmi doing all the canqi 
chores." 

She smiled, and then to SheSord she seemed to 
gleam, to be radiant. 

"It 'd be a lovely morning to climb — 'way high.'* 

"Why — ^yes — ^it would," replied Sh^ord, awk- 
wardly. "I wish I didn't have my work." 

"Joe, will you climb with me some day?" 

"I should smile I will," declared Joe. 

"But I can run right up the walls." 

"I reckon. Mary, it mmldn't surprise me to see 
you fly." 

"Do you mean I'm like a cafion swallow or an 
angel?" 

Then, as Joe stared speechlessly, she said good-by 
and, taking up the bucket, went on with her swift, 
graceful step. 

"She's perked up," said the Mormon, staring after 
her. "Never heard her say more'n yes or no till 
now." 

"She did seem — ^bii^t," rejdied Shefford. 

He was sttmned. What had happened to h^? 
To-day this girl had not been Mary, tiie sealed wife, 
or the Sago lily, alien among Mormon women. 
Then it flashed upon him — she was Fay Larkin. 

314 



THE REVELATION 

She idio had r^arded herself as dead had ccnne back 
to life. In one short night what had transformed 
her — yfbat had taken place in her heart? SheSord 
dared not accept, nor allow lodgment in his mind, a 
thrilling idea that he had made her forget her misery. 

"Shefford, did you ever see her like that?" asked 
Joe. 

"Never." 

"Haven't you — something to do with it?" 

"Maybe I have. I — I hope so." 

"Redcon you've seen how she's faded — since the 
trial?" 

"No," replied Sheflford, swiftly. "But I've not 
seen her face in daylight since then." 

"Well, take my hunch," said Joe, soberly. "She's 
begun to fade like the cafion lily Vfhea it's broken. 
And she's going to die unless — " 

"Why. mani" ejaculated Shefford. "Didn't you 
see — " 

"Sure I see," interrupted the Mormon. "I see a 
lot you don't. She's so white you can look through 
her. She's grown thin, all in a week. She doesn't 
eat. Oh, I know, because I've made it my business 
to fitid out. It's no news to the women. But they'd 
like to see her die. And she will die unless—" 

"My God!" exdaimed She£Eord, htiskily. "I 
never noticed — I never thought. . . . Joe, hasn't she 
any friends?" 

"Sure. You and Ruth — and me. Maybe Nas 
Ta Bega, too. He watches her a good deal." 

"We can do so Uttle, when she needs so much." 

"Nobody can help her, unless it's you," went on 
the Mormon. "Tliat's plain talk. She seemed 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

different this morning. Why, she was alive — she 
talked — she smiled. . . . Shefford, if you cheer her up 
III go to hell for you!" 

The big Mormon, on his knees, with his hands in a 
pan of dough, and his shirt all cnvered with flour, 
presented an inccmgruous figure of a. man actuated 
■ by pathos and passion. Yet the contrast made his 
emotion all the simpler and stron^r. SheSord grew 
closer to Joe in that moment. 

"Why do jrau think I can cheer her, help her?" 
queried SheSord. 

"I dcm't know. But she's different with you. 
It's not that you're a Gentile, though, for all the 
women are crazy about you. You talk to her. 
You have power over her, Shefford. I feel that. 
She's cmly a kid." 

"Who is she, Joe? Where did she come from?" 
asked Sh^ord. very low, with his eyes cast down. 

"I don't know. I can't find out. Nobody knows. 
It's a mystery— to all the younger Mormons, any- 
way." 

Shefford burned to ask questions about the Mor< 
mon whose sealed wife the girl was, but he respected 
Joe too much to tate advantage of him in a poig- 
nant moment like this. Besides, it was cmly jealousy 
that made him bum to know the Mormon's identity, 
and jealousy had become a creeping, iiKidious, grow- 
ing fire. He would be wise not to add fuel to it. 
He rejected many things before he thought of one 
that he could voice to his friend. 

"Joe, it's only her body that belongs to — ^to . . . 
Her soul is lost to — " 

"Jcdm Shefford, let that go. My mind's tired. 



THE REVELATION 

I've been taught so and so, and I'm not bright. . . . 
But, after all, men are much aUke. The thing with 
you and me is this — ^we don't want to see Act- grave!" 

Love spoke there. The Monnon had seized upon 
the single elemental point that concerned him and 
his friend in their relation to Uiis unfortunate girl. 
His simple, powerful statement united them; it gave 
the lie to his hint of denseness; it stripped the truth 
naked. It was such a wonderful thought-provok- 
ing statement that Shefford needed time to ponder 
how deep the Mormon was. To what limit would he 
go? Did he mean that here, between two men who 
loved the same girl, class, duty, honor, creed were 
nothing if they stood in the way of her ddiverance 
and her life? 

"Joe Lake, you Mormons are imposable," said 
Shefford, deliberately. "You don't want to see 
her grave. So long as she lives — remains on the 
earth — white and gold like the flower you call her, 
that's enough for you. It's her body you think of. 
And that's the great and horrible error in your 
religion. . . . But death of the soul is infinitdy worse 
than death of the body. I have been thinJdng of 
her soul. ... So here we stand, you and I. You to 
save her life — I to save her soul! What will you 
do?" 

"Why, John, I'd turn Gentile," he said, with ter- 
rible softness. It was a softness that scorned Shef- 
ford for asking, and likewise it flimg defiance at his 
creed and into the face of hell. 

Shefford felt the sting and the exaltation. 

"And I'd be a Mormon," he said. 

"All right. We tmderstand each other. ReclKoi 

317 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

there won't be any call for such extremes. I haven't 
an idea what you mean — what can be done. But 
I say, go slow, so we won't all find graves. First 
cheer her up somehow. Mal^ her want to live. But 
go slow, John. And don't be with her laiel" 

That night SheSord found her waiting for him in 
the moonlight — a girl who was as transparent as 
oystal-clear water, who had left off the somber 
gloom with the black hood, who tremulously em- 
braced happiness without knowing it, who was one 
moment timid and wild like a lialf-£rightened fawn, 
and the next, exquisitely half-conscious cd what it 
meant to be thought dead, but to be alive, to be 
awakening, wondering, palpitating, and to be loved. 

Shefford lived the hour as a dream and went bade 
to the quiet darkness under the cedars to He wide- 
eyed, trying to recall all that she had said. For she 
had talked as if utterance had long been dammed 
behind a barrier of silence. 

There followed other hours Kke that one, inde- 
scribable hours, so sweet they stung, and in which, 
keeping pace with his love, was the nobler stride 
of a spirit that more every day hghtened her burden. 

Tlie thing he had to do, sooner or later, was to tell 
her he knew she was Fay Larkin, not dead, but alive, 
and that, not love nor religion, but sacrifice, nailed 
her down to her martyrdom. Many and many a 
time he had tried to force himself to tell her, only 
to fail. He hated to risk ending this sweet, strange, 
thoughtless, girlish mood of hers. It might not be 
soon won back — perhaps never. How could he tell 
what chains bound her? And so as he vacillated 

3l8 



THE REVELATION 

between Joe's cauti&us advice to go slow and his own 
pity the days and weeks slipped by. 

One haunting fear k^t him sleepless half the 
nights and sick even in his dreams, and it was that 
the Mormon whose sealed wife she was might come, 
surely would come, some night. Shefford could bear 
it. But what would that visit do to Fay Larkin? 
Shefford instinctively feared the awakening in the 
girl of womanhood, of deeper insight, of a spiritual 
realization of what she was, of a physical dawn. 

He might have spared himself needless torture. 
One day Joe Lake eyed him with penetrating glance. 

"Radeon you dcra't have to sleep right on that 
Sttmebridge trail," said the Mormon, significantly. 

Shefford felt the blood bum his neck and face. 
He had pulled his tarpaulin closer to the trail, and 
his motive was as an open page to the keen Mormon. 

"Why?" asked Shefford. 

"There won't be any Mormons riding in here soon 
— ^by night — to visit the women," replied Joe, 
bluntly. ' ' Haven't you figured there might be 
government spies watdiing the trails?" 

"No, I haven't." 

"Wdl, take a hunch, then," added the Mormon, 
gruffly, and Shefford divined, as well as if he had 
been told, that warning word had gone to Stone- 
bridge. Gone despite the fact that Nas Ta Bega 
had reported every trail free of watchers ! There was 
no sign of any spies, cowboys, outlaws, or Indians 
in the vicinity of the valley. A passionate gratitude 
to the Mormon overcame Shefford; and the tmrea- 
sonableness of it, the nature of it, perturbed him 
greatly. But, something hammered into his brain, 
219 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

if he loved one of these sealed wives, how could he 
help being jealous? 

The result of Joe's hint was that Shefford put off 
the hour of revelation, lived in his dream, helped the 
girl grow farther and farther away from her trouble, 
until that inevitable hour arrived when he was 
driven by accumulated emotion as much as the 
exigency of the case. 

He had not often walked with her beyond the 
dark shade of the pinons round the cottage, but this 
night, when he knew he must tell her, he led her 
away down the path, through the cedar grove to the 
west end of the valley where it was wild and lonely 
and sad and silent. 

The moon was full and the great peaks were 
crowned as with snow. A coyote uttwed his cutting 
cry. There were a few mdancholy notes from a 
night bird of the stone walls. The air was clear and 
cold, with a tang of frost in it. Shefford gazed about 
him at the vast, uplifted, insulating^ walls, and that 
feeling of his which was more than a sense told him 
how walls like these and the silence and shadow and 
mystery had been nearly all of Fay Larkin's life. 
He felt them all in her. 

He stopped out in the open, near the line where 
dark shadow of the wall met the silver moonlight 
on the grass, and here, by a huge flat stone where 
he had come often alone and sometimes with Ruth, 
he faced Fay Larkin in the spirit to tell her gently 
that he knew her, and sternly to force her secret 
from her. 

"Am I yomr friend?" he began. 

"Ah! — my only friend," she said. 



i„Goo^lc 



THE REVELATION 

"Do you trust me, believe I mean ■well by you, 
want to help you?" 

"Yes, indeed." 

"Well, then, let me speat of you. You know one 
topic we've never touched upon. You!" 

She was silent, and looked wonderingly, a little 
fearfully, at him, as if v^ue, disturbing thoughts 
were entering the fringe of her mind. 

"Our friMidship is a strange one, is it not?" he 
went on. 

"How do I know? I never had any other friend- 
ship. What do you mean by strange?" 

"Well, I'm a young man. You're a — a married 
woman. We are togethw a good deal — and like to 
be." 

"Why is that strange?" she asked. 

Suddenly Shefford realized that there was nothing 
strange in what was natiiral. A remnant of sophis- 
tication climg to him and that had spoken. He 
needed to speak to her in a way which in her sim- 
plicity she would imderstand. 

"Never mind strange. Say that I am interested 
in you, and, as you're not happy, I want to help you. 
And say that your neighbors are curious and oppose 
my idea. Why do they?" 

"They're jealous and want you themselves," she 
replied, with sweet directness. "They've said things 
I don't understand. But I felt they — they hated 
in me what would be all right in themselves." 

Here to simplicity she added truth and wisdom, 
as an Indian might have expressed them. But 
shame was unknown to her, and she had as yet cmly 
vague perceptions of love and passion. ShefEord 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

began to realize the quickness of her mind, that she 
was indeed awakening. 

"They are jealous — ^were jealous before I ever 
came here. That's only human nature. I was try- 
ing to get to a point. Your neighbors are curious. 
They oppose me. They hate you. It's all bound 
up in the — the fact of your difference from them, 
your youth, beauty, that you're not a Mormon, that 
you nearly betrayed their secret at the trial in 
Stonebridge." 

"Please — please don't — speaik of that!" she fal- 
tered. 

"But I must," he replied, swiftly. "That trial 
was a torture to you. It revealed so much to me. 
... I know you are a sealed wife. I know there has 
been a crime. I know you've sacrificed yourself. 
I know that love and religion have nothing to do 
witb — what you are. . . . Now, is not all that true?" 

"I must not tell," die whispered. ' 

"But I diall make you tell," he replied, and his 
voice rang. 

"Oh no, you cannot," she said. 

"I can — with just one wordl" 

Her eyes were great, starry, shadowy gulfs, dark 
in the white beauty of her face. She was calm now. 
She had strength. She invited him to speak the 
word, and the wistful, tremulous quiver of her Ups 
was for his earnest thought of her. 

"Wait — a — little," said Shefford, unsteadily. "I'll 
come to that presently. Tell me this — ^have you 
ever thought of being free?" 

"Free!" she echoed, and there was singular depth 
and richness in her voice. That was the first spark 



THE REVELATION 

of fire he had struck from her. "Long ago, the 
minute I was tmwatched, I'd have leaped from a 
wall had I dared. Oh, I wasn't afraid. I'd love to 
die that way. But I never dared." 

"Why?" queried Shefford, piardr^y. 

She was silent then. 

' ' Suppose I offered to give you freedom that meant 
life?" 

"I — couldn't — take it." 

"Why?" 
■ "Oh, my friend, doij't ask me any more." 

"I know, I can see — you want to tell me — you 
need to tell." 

"But I daren't." 

"Won't you trust me?" 

"I do— I do." 

"Then tell me." 

"No — no — oh nol" 

The moment had come. How sad, tragic, yet 
glorious for him! It would be like a magic touch 
upon this lovely, cold, white ghost of Fay Larldn, 
transforming her into a living, breathing girl. He 
held his love as a thing aloof, and, as such, intan^ble 
because of the Uving death she bdieved she lived, 
it had no warmth and intimacy for them. What 
might it not become with a li^tning flash of revela- 
tion? He dreaded, yet he was driven to ^leak. 
He waited, swallowing hard, fighting the tumultuous 
storm of emotion, and his eyes dimmed. 

"What did I come to this country for?" he asked, 
suddenly, in ringing, powerful voice. 

"To find a girl," she whispered. 

"I've found her!" 

323 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

She b^an to shake. He saw a white hand go to 
her breast. 

"Where is Surprise Valley? . . . How were you 
taken from Jane Withersteen and Lassiter? ... I 
know they're alive. But where?" 

She seamed to turn to stone. 

"Fay!— i^ay Larkinl ... I know tou!" he cried, 
brokenly. 

She ^pped (^ the stone to her knees, swayed for- 
ward blindly with her hands reaching out, her head 
falling bade to let the moon fall full upon the beau- 
tiful, snow-white, tr^cally convulsed face. 



bf Google 



xin 

THE STORT OF SURPKISB VALLBT 



O^ 



)H, I remember so well! Even now I 
dream of it sometimes. I hear the roll 
and crash of falling rock — ^like thunder. . . . We rode 
and rode. Then the horses fell. Uncle Jim took 
me in his anns and started up the cliff. Mother 
Jane climbed close after us. They kept looking 
back. Down there in the gray valley came the 
Mormons. I see the first one now. He rode a 
white horse. That was Tull. Oh, I remember so 
well! And I was five or six years old. 

"We climbed up and up and into dark cafions and 
woimd in and out. Then there was the narrow white 
trail, straight up, with the little cut steps and the 
great, red, ruin«i walls. I looked down over Uncle 
Jim's shoulder. I saw Mother Jane dragging her- 
self up. Uncle Jim's blood spotted the trail. He 
reached a flat place at the tcq) and fell with me. 
Mother Jane crawled up to us. 

"Then she cried out and pointed. Tull was 'way 
below, climbing the trail. His men came behind 
him. Uncle Jim went to a great, tall rock and 
leaned against it. There was a bloody hole in his 
hand. He pushed the rock. It rolled down, bang- 
335 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

ing the loose w£ills. They crashed and crashed — 
then all was terrible thunder and red smoke. I 
couldn't hear — I couldn't see. 

"Uncle Jim carried me down and down out of the 
dark and dust into a beautiful valley all red and 
gold, with a wonderful arch of stone over the en- 
trance. 

"I don't remember well what happened then for 
what seemed a long, long time. I can feel how the 
place looked, but not so clear as it is now in my 
dreams. I seem to see myself with the dogs, and 
with Mother Jane, learning my letters, marking with 
red stone on the walls. 

"But I remember now how I fdt when I first 
understood we were shut in for ever, ^ut in Sur- 
prise Valley where Venta:^ had lived so long. I was 
j^d. The Mormons would never get me. I was 
seven or eight years old then. From that time all 
is clear in my mind. 

' ' Venters had l^t supplies and tools and grain and 
cattle and burros, so we had a good start to begin 
life there. He had killed off the wildcats and kept 
the coyotes out, so the rabbits and quail multiplied 
till there were thousands of them. We raised com 
and fruit, and stored what we didn't use. Mother 
Jane taught me to read and write with the soft red 
stone that marked weU on the walls. 

"The years passed. We Irept track of time pretty 
well. Uncle Jim's hair turned white and Mother 
Jane grew gjray. Every day was like the one before. 
Mother Jane cried sometimes and Uncle Jim was sad 
because they could never be able to get me out of 
the valley. It was long before they stopped looking 
236 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

and listening for some one. Venters would come 
back, Uncle Jim always said. But Mother Jane did 
not t.hinlf so. 

"I loved Surprise Valley. I wanted to stay there 
always. I remembered Cottonwoods, how the chil- 
dren there hated me, and I didn't want to go back. 
The only unhappy times I ever had in the valley 
were when Ring and Whitie, my dogs, grew old and 
died. I roamed the valley. I dimbed to every 
nook upon the mossy leches. I learned to run up 
the steep cliflEs. I could almost stick on the straight 
walls. Mother Jane called me a wild girL We had 
put away the clothes we wore when we got there, to 
save them, and we made clothes of skins. I always 
laughed when I thought of my little dress — ^how I 
grew out of it. I think Uncle Jim and Mother Jane 
talked less as the years went by. And after I'd 
learned all she could teach me we didn't talk much. 
I used to scream into the caves just to hear my voice, 
and the echoes would frighten me. 

"The older I grew the more I was alone. I was 
always running round the valley. I would climb to 
a high place and sit there for -hours, doing nothing. 
I just watched and listened. I used to stay in the 
diJS-dwellers' caves and wonder about tlian. I 
loved to be out in the wind. 'And my happiest time 
was in the summer storms with Hie thunder echoes 
under the walls. At evening it was such a quiet 
place — after the night bird's cry, no sound. The 
quiet made me sad, but I loved it. I loved to watch 
the stars as I lay awake. 

"So it was beautiful and happy for me there till — 
tiU . . . 

227 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"Two years or more ago there was a bad storm, 
and one of the great walls caved. The walls were 
always weathering, slipping. Many and many a 
time have I heard the rumble of an avalanche, but 
most of them were in other canons. This slide in 
the valley made it possible. Uncle Jim said, for men 
to get down into the valley. But we could not 
climb out unless helped from above. Uncle Jim 
never rested well after that. But it never worried 
me. 

"One day, over a year ago, while I was across the 
valley, I heard strait^e shouts, and then screams. I 
ran to our camp. I came upon men with ropes and 
guns. Uncle Jim was tied, and a rope was round his 
neck. Mother Jane was lying on the ground. I 
thought she was dead until I heard her moan. I 
was not afraid. I screamed and flew at Uncle Jim 
to tear the ropes off him. The men held me back. 
They called me a pretty cat. Then they talked 
tc^ther, and some were for hanging Lassiter — that 
was the first time I ever knew any name for him but 
Uncle Jim — and some were for leaving hiin in the 
valley. Finally they decided to hang him. But 
Mother Jane pleaded so and I screamed and fought 
so that they left oflf. Then they went away and we 
saw them climb out of the valley. 

"Uncle Jim said they wctc Mormons, and some 
among them had been bom in Cottonwoods. I was 
not told why they had such a terrible hate for him. 
He said they would come back and kill him. Uncle 
Jim had no guns to fight with. 

"We watched and watched. In five days they did 

come back, with more men, and some of them wore 

338 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

black masks. TTiey came to our cave vdih ropes 
and guns. One was tall. He had a cruel voice. 
The others ran to obey him. I oauld see white hair 
and sharp eyes behind the mask. The men caught 
me and brought me before him. 

"He said Lassiter had killed many Mormons. 
He said Lassiter had killed his £ath^ and should be 
hanged. But Lassiter would be let live and Mother 
Jane could stay with him, both prisoners there in 
the valley, if I would marry the Mormon. I must 
marry him, accept the Mormon faith, and bring up 
my diildren as Mormons. If I refused they would 
hang Lasater, leave the heretic Jane Withersteen 
alone in the valley, and take me and break me to 
their rule. 

"I ^reed. But Mother Jane absolutely forbade 
me to marry him. Then the Mormons took me 
away. It nearly killed me to leave Uncle Jim and 
Mother Jane. I was carried and lifted out of the 
valley, and rode a long way <m a horse. TTiey 
brought me here, to the cabin where I live, and I 
' have never been away except that — that time — to — 
Stonebridge. Only Uttle by little did I learn my 
position. Bishop Kane was kind, but stem, because 
I could not be quick to learn the faith. 

"I am not a sealed wife. But they're trying to 
make me one. The master Mormon — ^he visited me 
often — at night — ^till lately. He threatened me. He 
never told me a name — except Saint George. I 
don't — ^know him — except has vcace. I never — saw 
his face — in the Kgjit I" 

Fay Larkin ended her story. Toward its close 
239 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Shefford had grown involuntarily restless, and when 
her last tra^c whisper ceased all his body seemed 
shaken with a terrible violence of his joy. He 
strode to and fro in the dark shadow of the stone. 
The receding blood left him cold, with a pricking, 
sickening sensation over his body, but there seemed 
to be an overwhdming tide accumulating deep in 
his breast — a tide of passion and pain. He domi- 
nated the passion, but the ache remained. And he 
returned to the quiet figure on the stone. 

"Fay Larkuir* he exclaimed, with a deep breath 
of relief that the secret was disclosed. "So you're 
not a wife! . . . You're free! Thank Heaven I But 
I felt it was sacrifice. I knew there had been a 
crime. For crime it is. You child! You can't un- 
derstand what crime. Oh, almost I wish you and 
Jane and Lassiter had never been found. But that's 
wrong of me. One year of i^ony — that shall not 
ruin your life. Pay, I will take you away." 

"Where?" she whispered. 

"Away from this Mormon country — to the East," 
he replied, and he spoke of what he had known, of 
travd, of cities, of people, of happiness possible for 
a yoimg girl who had spent all her life hidden between 
the narrow walls of a silent, lonely valley — he spoke 
swiftly and eloquently till he lost his breath. 

There was an instant of flashing wonder and joy 
on her white face, and then the radiance paled, the 
g^ow died. H^ soul was the darker for that one 
strange, leaping glimpse of a glory not for such as she. 

"I must stay here," she said, shudderii^ly. 

"Fay! — ^How strange to say Fay aloud to youl — 
Fay, do you know the way to Suriirise Valley?" 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

"I don't know where it is, but I could go straight 
to it," she replied. 

"Take me there. Show me your beautiftil valley. 
Let me see where you ran and climbed and spent 
so many lonely years." 

"Ah, how I'd love to! But I dare not. And 
why should you want me to take you? We can run 
and climb here." 

' ' I want to — I mean to save Jane Withersteen and 
Lassiter," he declared. 

She uttered a Kttle cry of pain. "Save them?" 

"Yes, save them. Get them out of the valley, 
take them out of the country, far away where they 
and you, — " 

"But I can't go," she wailed. > "I'm afraid. I'm 
bound. It cayCi be broken. If I dared — if I tried 
to go they would catch me. TTiey would hang Uncle 
Jim and leave Mother Jane alone there to starve." 

"Fay, Lassiter and Jane both will starve — at least 
they will die there if we do not save them. You 
have been terribly wronged. You're a slave. You're 
not a wife." 

"They — said I'll be burned in hell if I don't marry 
him. . . . MothCT Jane never taught me about God. 
I don't know. But he — ^he said God was there. I 
dare not break it." 

"Fay, you have been deceived by old men. Let 
them have their creed. But ytm mustn't accept it." 

"John, what is God to you?" 

"Dear child, I — I am not sure of that myself," he 
replied, huskily. "When all this trouble is behind 
us, surely I can help you to understand and you can 
help me. The fact that you are alive — that Lassiter 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

and Jane are alive — ^that I shall save you all — ^that 
lifts me up. I tell you— Fay Larkin will be my 
salvatioa." 

"Your words trouble me. Oh, I shall be torn one 
way and another. . . . But, John, I daren't run away. 
I will not tell you where to find Liassiter and Mother 
Jane." 

* ' I shall find them. I have the Indian. He found 
you for me. Nas Ta Bega will find Surprise Valley." 

"Nas Ta Bega! . . . Oh, I remember. There was 
an Indian with the Monncms who found us. But he 
was a Piute." 

"Nas Ta Bega never told me how he learned about 
you. That he learned was enough. And, Fay, he 
will find Surprise Valley. He will save Uncle Jim 
and Mother Jane." 

Fay's hands clasped Sheflford's in strong, trem- 
bling pressure; the tears streamed down her white 
cheeks; a tragic and eloquent joy convulsed her face. 

' ' Oh, my friend, save them ! But I can't go. . . , 
Let them keep me! Let him kill me!" 

"Him! Fay — he shall not harm you," repUed 
SheSord in passionate earnestness. 

She caught the hand he had struck out with. 

"You talk — ^you look like Uncle Jim when he spoke 
of the Mormons," she said. "Then I used to be 
afr^d of him. He was so diflierent. John, you 
must not do anything about me. Let me be. It's 
too late. He — and his men — ^they would hang you. 
And I couldn't bear that. I've enough to bear 
without losing my friend. Say you won't watch and 
wait — for — ^for him." 

SheSord had to promise her. Uke an Indian she 



,C..io>([c 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

gave expression to primitive feeling, for it certainly 
never occurred to her that, whatevCT Shefford might 
do, he was not the kind of man to wait in hiding 
for an enemy. Fay had faltered through her last 
speech and was now weak and nervous and fright- 
ened. SheSord took her back to the cabin. 

"Fay, don't bp distressed," he said, "I won't do 
anything right away. You can trust me, I won't 
be rash. I'll consult you before I make a move. I 
haven't any idea what I could do, anyway. . . . You 
must bear up. Why, it looks as if you're sorry I 
found you." 

"Oh! I'm glad!" she whispered. 

"Then if you're glad you mustn't break down 
this way ^ain. Suppose some of the women hap- 
pened to run into us." 

"I won't again. It's only you — ^you surprised me 
so. I used to think how I'd lite you to know — I 
wasn't really dead. But now — ^it's different. It 
hurts me here. Yet I'm glad — ^if my being alive 
makes you — a little happier." 

Shefford felt that he had to go then. He could 
not trust himself any further. 

"Good night. Fay," he said. 

"Good night, John," she wh^pered. "I promise 
— ^to be good to-morrow." 

She was crying softly when he left her. Twice he 
turned to see the dim, white, slender form against the 
gloom of the cabin. Then he went on under the 
pifions, blindly down the path, with his heart as 
heavy as lead.. That night as he rolled in his 
blanket and stretched wearily he felt that he would 
never be able to sleep. The wind in the cedars 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

made hitn shiver. The great stais seemed rdent- 
less, passionless, vidtc ^es, mockii^ his Uttle 
destiny and his pain. The hi^e shadow of the 
mountain resembled the shadow of the instumoimt- 
able barrier between Pay and him. 

Her pitiful, r^n'ldtsli prcmiise to be good was in his 
mind when he went to her home on the next night. 
He wondered how she would be, and he realized a 
desperate need of self-control. 

But that night Pay Tjirlrin was a different girl. 
In ihe dark, before she spoke, he felt a difference that 
afforded him surprise and relief. He greeted her as 
usual. And then it seemed, though not at all 
clearly, that he was listening to a girl, strangely and 
unconsdoudy glad to see him, who spoke with 
deeper note in her voice, who talked where always 
she had listened, whose sadness was there under an 
eagerness, a subdued gaiety as new to her, as sweet 
as it was bewildering. And he responded with 
emotion, so that the hour passed swiftly, and he 
found himself back in camp, in a kind of dream, 
unable to remember much of what she had said, 
sure only of this strange sweetness suddenly come 
to her. 

Upon the following night, however, he discovered 
what had wrought this singular change in Pay 
Larkin. She loved hitn and she did not know it. 
How passionately sweet and sad and painful was 
that realization for Shefford! Tlie hour spent with 
her then was only a moment. 

He walked under the stars that ni^t and they 

shed a glorious light upon him. He tried to think, 

234 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

to plan, but the sweetness of remembered word or 
look made mental effort almost impossible. He got 
as far as the thought that he would do well to drift, 
to wait till she learned she loved him, and then, 
perhaps, she could be persuaded to let him take 
her and Lassiter and Jane airay together. 

And from that night he went at his work and the 
part he played in the village with a zeal and a 
cunning that left him free to seek Fay when he 
chose. 

Sometimes in the afternoon, always for a while in 
the evening, he was with her. They climbed the 
walls, and sat upon a lonely height to look afar; they 
walked tmder the stars, and the cedars, and the 
shadows of the great diSs. She had a beautiful 
mind. Listening to her, he imagined he saw down 
into beautiful Surprise Valley with all its word 
shadows, its colored walls and painted caves, its 
golden ^afts of momii^ light and the red haze at 
sunset; and he felt the silence that must have 
been there, and the singing of the wind in the cliffs, 
and the sweetness and fragrance of the flowera, and 
the wildness of it all. Love had worked a marvelous 
transformation in this girl who had lived her life in a 
cafion. The bimien upon her did not weigh heavily. 
She could not have an unhappy thought. She spoke 
of the village, of her Mormon companions, of daily 
happenings, of Stonebridge, of many things in a 
matter-of-fact way that showed how little they oc- 
cupied her mind. She even spoke of sealed wives in 
a kind of dreamy abstraction. Something had pos- 
session of her, something as strong as the nature 
which had developed her, and in its power she, in her 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

simpKcity, was utterly unconscious, a watching and 
feeling girl. A strange, witching, radiant beauty 
lurked in her smile. And Shefford heard her laugh 
in his dreams. 

The weeks slipped by. The black mountain took 
on a white cap of snow; in the early mornings there 
was ice in the crevices on the heights and frost in 
the valley. In the sheltered canons where sunshine 
seemed to linger it was warm and pleasant, so that 
winter did not kill the flowers. 

SheSord waited so long for Fay's awakening that 
he believed it would never come, and, believing, had 
not the heart to force it upon her. Then there was 
a growing fear with him. What would Fay Larkin 
do when she awakened to the truth? Pay was 
indeed like that white and fragile lily which bloomed 
in the silent, lonely canons, but the same nature 
that had created it had created her. Would she 
droop as the lily would in a furnace blast? More 
than that, he feared a sudden flashing into life of 
strength, power, passion, hate. She did not hate 
yet because she did not yet realize love. She was 
utterly innocent of any wrong having been done her. 
More and more he began to fear, and a foreboding 
grew upon him. He made up his mind to broach 
the subject of Surprise Valley and of escaping with 
Lassiter and Jane; still, every time he was with 
Fay the girl and her beauty and her love were so 
wonderful that he put off the ordeal till the next 
night. As time flew by he excused his vacillation 
on the score that winter was not a good time to try 
to cross the desert. There was no grass for the 
mustangs, except in well-known valleys, and these 
336 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

he must shun. Spring would soon come. So the 
days passed, and he loved Fay more all the time, 
desperately living out to its limit the sweetness of 
every moment with her, and paying for his bliss in 
the increasing trouble that beset him when once 
away from her charm. 

One starry night, about ten o'clock, he went, as 
was his custom, to drink at the spring. Upon his 
return to the cedars Nas Ta Bega, who slept under 
the same tree with him, had arisen, with his blanket 
hanguig half oS his shoulder. 

"Listen," said the Indian. 

Shefford took one glance at the dark, somber face, 
with its inscrutable eyes, now so strange and piercing, 
and then, with a kind of cold excitement, he faced 
the way the Indian looked, and listened. But he 
heard only the soft moan of the night wind in the 
cedars. 

Nas Ta Bega kept the rigidity of his positicm for a 
moment, and then he relaxed, and stood at ease. 
Shefford knew the Indian had made a certainty of 
what must have been a doubtful sound. And Shef- 
ford leaned his ear to the wind and strained his 
hearing. 

Then the soft night breeze brought a faint patter 
— the slow trot of horses on a hard trail Some one 
was coming into the village at a late hour. Shefford 
thought of Joe Lake. But Joe lay right behind him, 
asleep in his blankets. It could not be Withers, for 
the trader was in Durango at that time. Shefford 
thought of Willetts and Shadd. 

"Who's coming?" he asked low of the Indian. 



X.oo^k 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Nas Ta Bega pointed down the trail without 
speaking. 

Shefford peered tiirough the white dim haze of 
starlight and presently he oiade out moving figures. 
Horses, with riders — a string of them — one — ^two — 
three — ^foiir — five — and he counted up to eleven. 
Eleven horsemen riding into the village! He was 
amazed, and suddenly keenly amdous. This visit 
might be one of Shadd's raids. 

"Shadd's gang!" he whispered. 

"No, Bi Nai," replied Nas Ta Bega, and he drew 
Shefford farther into the shade of the cedars. His 
voice, his action, the way he kept a hand on Shef- 
ford's shoulder, all this told much to the young man. 

Mormcms come on a night visit ! Shefford realized 
it with a slight shock. Then swift as a lightning 
flash he was rent by anotlieT shock — one that brou^t 
cold moisture to his brow and to his heart a flame of 
hell. 

He was shaking when he sank down to find the 
support of a log. Like a shadow the Indian silently 
moved away, Shefford watched the eleven horses 
pass the camp, go down liie road, to disappear in the 
village. They vanished, and the soft clip-clops of 
hoofs died away. There was nothing left to prove he 
had not dreamed. 

Nothing to prove it except this sudden terrible 
demoralization of his physical and spiritual being! 
While he peered out into the valley, towaid the black 
patch of cedars and piiions that hid the cabins, 
moments and moments passed, and in than he was 
gripped with cold and fire. 

Was the Mormon who had abducted Fay — the 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

man with the crael voice — ^was he among those 
eleven horsemen? He might not have been. What 
a torturing hope! But vain — ^vain, for inevitably he 
must be among them. He was there in the cabin 
aheady. He had dismounted, tied his horse, had 
knocked on her door. Did he need to knock? No, 
he would go in, he would call her in that cruel voice, 
and then . . . 

ShefEord pulled a blanket from his bed and covered 
his cold and troubling body. He had sunk down off 
the Ic^, was leaning back upon it. llie stars were 
pale, far off, and the valley seemed unreal. He 
found himself Ustening — Glistening with sick and ter- 
rible earnestness, trying to hear against the thrum 
and beat of his heart, straining to catch a sound 
in all that cold, star-blanched, silent valley. But 
he could hear no sound. It was as if death held the 
valley in its perfect silence. How he hated that 
silence! There ought to have been a million hor- 
rible, bellowing demons making the night hideous. 
Did the stars serenely look down upon the lonely 
cabins of these exiles? Was there no thunderbolt 
to drop down from that dark and looming mountain 
upon the silent cabin where tragedy had entered? 
In aU the world, imder the sea, in the abysmal caves, 
in the vast spaces of the air, there was no such terri- 
ble silence as this, A scream, a long cry, a moan — 
these were natural to a woman, and why did not one 
of these sealed wives, why did not Fay Larkin, damn 
this everlasting acquiescent silence? Perhaps she 
would fly out of her cabin, come running along the 
path. Sh^ord peered into the bright patches of 
starlight and into the shadows of the cedars. But he 
239 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

saw no moving form in the open, no dim white shape 
against the gloom. And he heard no sound — not 
even a whisper of wind in the branches overhead. 

Nas Ta Bega returned to the shade of the cedars 
and, lying down on his blankets, oovered himself and 
went to sleep. Tlie fact seemed to bring bitter real- 
ity to ShefEord. Nothing was going to happen. The 
valley was to be the same this night as any other 
night. SheSord accepted the trul^. He experi- 
enced a kind of self-pity. The night he had thought 
so much about, prepared for, and had forgotten had 
now arrived, l^en he threw another blanket roimd 
him, and, cold, dark, grim, he faced that lonely vigil, 
meaning to sit there, wide-eyed, to endure and to 
wait. 

Jealotisy and pain, following his frenzy, abided 
with him long hours, and when they passed he 
divined that selfishness passed with them. What he 
suffered then was for Fay Larldn and for her sisters 
in misfortune. He grew big enough to pity these 
fanatics. The fiery, racing tide of blood that had 
made of him only an animal had cooled with thought 
of others. Still he feared that stultifying thing which 
must have been hate. What a tempest had raged 
within him! This blood of his, that had received a 
stronger strain from his desert life, might in a single 
moment flood out reason and intellect and make him 
a vengeful man. So in those starlit hours that 
dragged interminably he looked deep into his heart 
and tried to fortify himself against a dark and evil 
moment to come. 

Midnight — and the valley seemed a tomb! Did 
he alone keep wakeful? Tlie sky was a darker blue, 
240 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

the stars burned' a whiter fire, the peaks stood 
looming and vast, tranquil sentinels of that valley, 
and the wind rose to sigh, to breathe, to mourn 
through the cedars. It was a sad music. The 
Indian lay prone, dark face to the stars. Joe Lake 
lay prone, sleeping as quietly, with his dark face 
exposed to the starlight. The gentle movement of 
the cedar branches changed the shape of the bright 
patches on the grass where shadow and light met. 
The walls of the valley waved upward, dark below 
and growing paler, to shine faintly at tiie rounded 
rims. And there was a tiny, silvery tinkle of running 
water over stones. 

Here was a Uttle nook of the vast world. Here 
were tranquillity, beauty, music, loneliness, life. 
Shefford wondered — did he alcwie keep watchful? 
Did he feel that he could see dark, wide eyes peering 
into the gloom? And it came to him after a time 
that he was not alone in his vigil, nor was Fay 
Larkin alone in her agony. There was some one else 
in the valley, a great and breathing and watchful 
spirit. It entered into Shefford's soul and he 
trembled. What had come to him? And he an- 
swered — only added pain and new love, and a strange 
strength from the firmament and the peaks and the 
silence and the shadows. 

The bright belt with its three radiant stars sank 
behind the western wall and there was a paler gloom 
upon the valley. 

Then a few lights twinkled in the darkness that 

enveloped the cabins; a woman's laugh strangely 

broke the silence, profaning it, giving the Ue to that 

somber yoke which seemed to consist of the very 

241 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

shadows; the voices of men were heard, and then the 
slow dip-clop of trotting horses on the hard trail. 

SheSord saw the Monnons file out into the paling 
starlight, ride down the valley, and vanish in the 
gray gloom. He was aware that the Indian sat up to 
watch the procession ride by, and that Joe turned 
over, as if disturbed. 

One by one the stars went out. The valley be- 
came a place of gray shadows. In the east a light 
glowed. Shefford sat there, h^;gard and worn, 
watching the coming of the dawn, the kindling of 
the light; and had the power been his the dawn 
would never have broken and the rose and gdd 
never have tipped the Mty peaks. 

ShefEord attended to his camp chores as usual. 
Several times he was aware of Joe's close scrutiny, 
and finally, without looking at him, Shefford told 
of the visit of the Monnons. A violent expulsion of 
breath was Joe's answer and it might have been a 
curse. Straightway Joe ceased his cheery whistling 
and became as somber as the Indian. The camp was 
silent; the men did not look at one anoth^. While 
they sat at breakfast Shefford's back was turned 
toward the village' he had not looked in that direc- 
ticm since dawn. 

"Ugh!" suddenly exclaimed Nas Ta Bega. 

Joe Lake muttered low and deep, and this time 
there was no mistake about the nature of his speech. 
SheSord did not have the courage to turn to see what 
had caused these exclamations. He knew since to- 
day had dawned that there was calamity in the air. 

"SheflEord, I reckon if I know women there's a 
343 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

little hell coming to you," said the Mormon, dg- 
nificantly. 

SheSord wheeled as if a powerful force had turned 
him on a pivot. He saw Fay Larkin. She seemed 
to be almost running. She was unhooded and her 
bright hair streamed down. Her swift, lithe action 
was without its usual grace. She looked wild, and 
she almost fell cros^ng the stepping-stones c^ the 
brook. 

Joe hurried to meet her, took hold of her arm and 
spoke, but she did not seem to hear Hm. She drew 
him along with her, up the little bench under the 
cedars straight toward SheSord. Her face held a 
white, mute agony, as if in the hour of strife it had 
hardened into marble. But her eyes were dark- 
purple fire — ^windows of an extraordinarily intense 
and vita! life. In one night the girl had become a 
woman. But the blight ShefEord had dreaded to see 
— the withering of the exquisite soul and spirit and 
purity he had considered inevitable, just as ioevi- 
table as the death of something similar in the flower 
she resembled, when it was broken and defiled — 
nothing of this was manifest in her. Straight and 
swiftly she came to him back in the shade of the 
cedars and took hold of his hands. 

"Last night — he camel" she said. 

"Yes — ^Fay — I — I know," replied Shefliord, halt- 
in^y. 

He was tremblingly conscious of amaze at her — of 
something wonderful in her. She did not heed Joe, 
who stepped aside a little; she did not see Nas Ta 
Bega, who sat motionless on a log, a,pparently ob- 
livious to her presence. 



DglzMbyGOO^IC 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"You knew he came?" 

"Yes, Fay. I was awake when — ^they rode in. I 
watched them. I sat up all night. I saw them ride 
away." 

"If you knew when he came why didn't you run 
to me — to get to me before he did?" 

Her questicm was unanswerable. It had the force 
c^ a bk)w. It stunned him. Its sharp, frank direct- 
ness sprang from a simplicity and a strength that had 
not been nurtured in the life he had lived. So far 
men had wandered from truth and nature! 

"I came to you as soon as I was able," she went 
on. "I must have fainted. I just had to drag 
myself around. . . . And now I can tell you." 

He was powerless to reply, as if she had put an- 
other tmanswerable question. What did she mean 
to tell him? What might she not tell him? She 
loosed her hands from his and lifted them to his 
shoulders, and that was the first conscious acticm 
of feeling, ctf intimacy, which she had ever shown. 
It quite robbed Shefford of strength, and in spite of 
his sorrow there was an indefinable thrill in her 
touch. He looked at her, saw the white-and-gcid 
beauty that was hers yesterday and seemed changed 
to-day, and he recognized Fay Larkin in a wcmian 
he did not know. 

"Listen! He came — " 

"Fay, don't — tell me," interrupted Shefford. 

"I wiU tell you," she said. 

Did the instinct of love teach her how to mitigate 
his pain? ShefEord fdt that, as he felt the new-bom 
strength in her. 

"Listen," she went on. "He came when I was 
244 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

undressing for bed. I heard the horse. He knocked 
on the door. Something terrible happened to me 
then. I felt sick and my head wasn't clear. I 
remember next — his being in the room — the lamp 
was out — I couldn't see very well. He thought I 
was sick and he gave me a drhik and let the air blow 
in on me through the window. I remember I lay 
back in the chair and I thought. And I listened. 
When would you come? I didn't feel that you could 
leave me there alone with him. For his coming was 
different this time. That pain like a blade in my 
side! . . . When it came I was not the same. I loved 
you. I imderstood then. I belonged to you. I 
couldn't let him touch me. I had never been his 
wife. When I realized this — that he was there, that 
you might suffer for it — I cried right out. 

"He thought I was sick. He worked over me. 
He gave me medicine. And then he prayed. I saw 
him, in the dark, on his knees, praying for me. 
That seemed strange. Yet he was Jdnd, so kind 
that I begged him to let me go. I was not a 
Mormon. I couldn't marry him. I begged him 
to let me go. 

"Then he thought I had been decaving him. He 
fell into a fury. He talked fca* a long time. He 
called upon God to visit my sins upon me. He 
tried to make me pray. But I wouldn't. And then 
— ^I fought him. I'd have screamed for you had he 
not smothered me, I got weak. . . . And you never 
came. I know I thought you would come. But 
you didn't. Then I — I gave out. And after — 
some time — I must have fainted." 

"Pay I For Heaven's sake, how could I come to 
34S 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

you?" burst out Sheff<nd, hoarse and white with 
remorse, passon, pun. 

*'If I'm any man's wife I'm yoois. It's a thing 
yen fed, isn't it? I know that now. . . . But I want 
to know what to do?" 

"Pay!" he cried, huskily. 

"I'm sick of it alL If it weren't for you I'd climb 
the wall and throw myself <^. That would be ea£y 
for me. I'd love to die that way. All my life I've 
been high np on the walls. To fall would be noth- 
ing!" 

"Oh, you mustn't talk like that!" 

"Do you love me?" she asked, with a low and 
deathless sweetness. 

"Love you? With all my heart! NotJiing can 
change thatl" 

"Do you want me — as you used to want the Fay 
Larkin lost in Surprise Valley ? Do you love me that 
way? I understand things better than before, but 
still — not alL I am Fay Larkin. 1 think I must 
have dreamed of you all my life. Z was glad when 
you came here. I've been happy lately. Ifor^t — 
till last night. Maybe it needed that to make me 
see I've loved you aU the time. . . . And I fought him 
like a wildcat! . . . Tell me the truth. I feel I'm 
yours. Is that true? If I'm not — I'll not live 
another hour. Something holds me up. I am the 
same. ... Do you want me?" 

"Yes, Fay Larkin, I want you," replied Shefford, 
steadily, with his grip on her aims. 

"Then take me away. I don't want to live here 
another hour." 

"Fay, I'll take you. But it can't be done at tmce. 
346 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

We must plan. I need help. There are Lassiter 
and Jane to get out of Surprise Valley. Give me 
time, dear — give me time. It '11 be a hard job. 
And we must plan so we can positively get away. 
Give me time, Fay." 

"Suppose he comes back?" she qudied. with a sin- 
gular depth of voice. 

"We'll have to risk that," replied Sheflford, miser- 
ably. "But — ^he won't come soon." 

"He said he would," she flashed. 

Shefford seemed to freeze inwardly with her words. 
Love had made her a woman and now the wwnan in 
her was speaking. She saw the truth as he could 
not see it. And the truth was nature. She had 
been hidden all her life from the world, from knowl- 
edge as he had it, yet when love betrayed her woman> 
hood to her she acquired all its subtlety. 

"If I wait and he does come will you keep me 
from him?" she asked. 

"How can I? I'm staJong all on the chance of Ms 
not coming soon. . . . But, Fay, if he does come and 
I don't give up our secret — ^how on earth can I keep 
you from him?" demanded Shefford. 

"If you love me you will do it," she said, as simply 
as if she were fate. 

"But how?" cried Shefford, almost beside himself. 

' ' You are a man. Any man would save the woman 
who loves him from — from — Oh, from a beast! . . . 
How would Lassiter do it?" 

"Lassiter!" 

"You can kill html" 

It was there, deep and full in her vcrice, the 
strength of the elemental forces that had surrounded 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

ho*, primitive passion and hate and love, as they 
were in woman in the b^inning. 

"My God!" Shefiord fried aloud with his spirit 
when all that was red in Imn sprang again into a 
flame of helL That was what had been wroi^ with 
him last night. He could kill this stealthy night- 
rider, and now, face to face with Fay, who had never 
been so beautiful and wonderful as in this hour when 
she made love the only and the sacred thing of life, 
now he had it in him to Idll. Yet, murder — even to 
Idll a brute — ^that was not for John Shefford, not 
the way for him to save a woman.' Reason and 
wisdom still fought the pas^on in him. If he could 
but cling to them — have them with him in the dark 
and contending hour! 

She leaned against him now, exhausted, her soul 
in her eyes, and they saw only him. %eSord vns 
all but powerless to reast the longii^ to take her 
into his arms, to hold her to his heart, to let himself 
go. Did not her love give her to him? Shefford 
gazed helplessly at the stricken Joe Lake, at the 
somber Indian, as if from them he expected help. 

"I know him now," said Pay, breaking the silence 
with startling suddenness. 

"What!" 

"I've seen him in the light. I flashed a candle 
in his face. I saw it. I know him now. He was 
there at Stonebridge wiHi us, and I never knew him. 
But I know him now. His name is — " 

"For God's sake don't tell me who he isV im- 
plored Shefford. 

Ignorance was Sh^ord's safeguard against him- 
self. To make a name of this heretofore intangible 
348 



STORY OF SURPRISE VALLEY 

man, to give him an identity apart from the crowd, 
to be able to recognize him — that for Shefford would 
be fatal. 

"Fay — tell me — no more," he said, brokenly. "I 
love you and I will give you my life. Trust me. I 
swear 111 save you." 

"Will you take me away soon?" 

"Yes." 

She appeared satisfied with that and dropped her 
hands and moved back from him. A light flitted 
over her white face, and her eyes grew dark and 
humid, losing their fire in changing, shadowing 
thought of submission, of trust, of hope. 

"I can lead you to Surprise Valley," she said. 
"I feel the way. It's there 1" And she pointed to 
the west. 

"Fay, we'll go — soon. I must plan. 111 see you 
to-night. Then we'U talk. Rim home now, before 
some of the women see you here." 

She said good-by and started away under the 
cedars, out into the open where her hair shone like 
gold in the sunlight, and she took the stepping-stones 
with her old free grace, and strode down the path 
swift and lithe as an Indian. Once she turned to 
wave a hand. 

ShefEord watched her with a torture of pride, 
love, hope, and fear contending within him. 



bf Google 



XIV 

THB NAVAJO 

THAT morning a Kute rode into the valley. 
Shefford recognized him as the brave who had 
been in love with Glen Naspa. The moment Nas 
Ta Bega saw this visitor he made a singular motion 
with his hands — a motion that somehow to Shefford 
suggested despair — and then he waited, somber and 
statuesque, for the messenger to come to him. It 
was the Piute who did all the talking, and that was 
brief. Then the Navajo stood motirailess, with his 
hands crossed over his breast. Shefford drew near 
and waited. 

"Bi Nai," said the Navajo, "Nas Ta Bega said 
his dster would come home some day. . . . Glen 
Naspa is in the hogan of her grandfather." 

He spoke in his usual slow, guttural voice, and he 
might have been bronze for all the emotion he ex- 
pressed; yet Shefford instinctively felt the despair 
that had been hinted to him, and he put his hand 
on the Indian's shoulder. 

"If I am the Navajo's brother, then I am t»other 
to Glen Naspa," he said. "I will go with you to the 
hogan of Hosteen Doetin." 

Nas Ta B^a went away into the valley for the 
aso 



THE NAVAJO 

horses. Shefford hurried to the village, made his 
excuses at the school, and then called to explain to 
Fay that trouble of some kind had come to the 
Indian. 

Soon afterward he was riding Nack-yal on the 
rough and winding trail up through the broken 
country of cliSs and cafions to the great league-long 
sage and cedar slope of the mountain. It was weeks 
since he had ridden the mustang. Nack-yal was fat 
and lazy. He loved his master, but he did not like 
the climb, and so fell far behind the lean and wiry 
pony that carried Nas Ta B^a. The sage levels 
were as purple as the haze of the distance, and there 
was a bitter-sweet tang on the strong, cool wind. 
The sun was gold behind the dark line of fringe on 
the mountain-top. A flock of sheep swept down one 
of the s^^ levels, looking Uke a narrow stream of 
white and black and brown. It was always amazing 
for Shefford to see how swiftly these Navajo sheep 
grazed along. Wild mustangs plimged out of the 
cedar clumps and stood upon the ridges, whistling 
defiance or curiosity, and their manes and tails 
waved in the wind. 

Shefford mounted slowly to the cedar bench in 
the midst of which were hidden the few hogans. 
And he halted at the edge to dismoimt and take a 
look at that downward-sweeping world of color, of 
wide space, at the wild desert upland which from 
there tmrolled its magnificent panorama. 

Then he passed on into the cedars. How strange 
to hear the lambs bleating again! Lambing-time 
had come early, but still spring was there in the new 
green of grass, in the bright upland flower. He led 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

his mustang out of the cedars into the cleared circle. 
It was full of colts and lambs, and there were the 
shepherd-dogs and a few old rams and ewes. But 
the circle was a qmet place this day. There were 
no Indians in sight. SheSord loosened the saddle- 
girths on Nack-yal and, leaving him to graze, went 
toward the hogan of Hosteen Doetin. A blaidfst 
was hung across the door. SheSord heard a low 
dianting. He waited beside the door till the cover- 
ing was pulled in, then he entered. 

Hosteen Doetin met him, clasped his hand. The 
old Navajo could not speak; his fine face was work- 
ing in grief; tears streamed from his dim old eyes 
and rolled down his wrinkled cheeks. IHs sorrow 
was no different from a white man's sorrow. Beyond 
him Shefiord saw Nas Ta Bega standing with folded 
arms, somehow terrible in his somber impassiveness. 
At his feet crouched the old woman, Hosteen Doe- 
tin's wife, and beade her, prone and quiet, half 
covered with a blanket, lay Glen Naspa. 

She was dead. To SheSord she seemed older 
than when he had last seen her. And she was 
beautiful. Calm, cold, dark, with only bitter lips to 
^ve the lie to peacel Ttere was a stcoy in those 
lips. 

At her side, half hidden under the fold of blanket, 
lay a tiny bundle. Its hilman shape startled Shef' 
fcffd. Then he did not need to be told the tragedy. 
When he looked again at Glen Naspa's face he seemed 
to understand all that had made her older, to feel 
the pain that had lined and set her lips. 

She was dead, and she was the last of Nas Ta 
Bega's family. In the old grandfather's agony, in 



THE NAVAJO 

the wild chant of the stricken grandmother, in the 
brother's stern and terrible catamess Shefford felt 
more than the death of a loved one. The shadow of 
ruin, of doom, of death hovered over the ^1 and 
her family and her tribe and her race. There was 
no consolation to o£Eer these relatives of Glen Naspa. 
SheSord took one more fascinated gaze at her dark, 
eloquent, prophetic face, at the tragic tiny shape 
by her side, and then with bowed head he left the 



Outside he paced to and fro, with an aching heart 
for Nas Ta Bega, with something of the white man's 
burden of crime towzird the Indian wdghing upon 
his soul. 

Old Hosteen Doetin came to him with shaking 
hands and words memorable of the time Glen Naspa 
IdFt his hogan. 

' ' Me no savvy Jesus Christ. Me hungry. Me no 
eat Jesus Christ!" 

That seemed to be all of his trouble that he could 
express to ShefEord. He could not understand the 
religion of the missionary, this Jesus Christ who had 
called his granddaughter away. And the great fear 
of an old Indian was not death, but hunger. Shef- 
ford remembered a custom of the Navajos, a thing 
barbarous looked at with a white man's mind. If 
an old Indian failed on a long march he was in- 
closed by a wall of stones, ^ven plenty to eat and 
drink, and left there to die in the desert. Not death 
did he fear, but hunger! Old Hosteen Doetin ex- 
pected to starve, now that tiie young and strong 
squaw of his family was gone. 



„Coo^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

SheSord spoke in his halting Navajo and as- 
sured the old Indian that Nas Ta Bega would never 
let him starve. 

At sunset SheSord stood mth Nas Ta B^^ facing 
the west. The Indian was magnificent in repose. 
He watched the sun go down upon the day that had 
seen the burial of the last of his family. He re- 
sembled an impassive destiny, upon which no 
shocks fell. He had the light ^ that flaring golden 
sky in his face, the majesty of the mountain in his 
mien, the silence of the great gulf bdow on his lips. 
This educated Navajo, who had reverted to the life 
of his ancestors, found in the wildness and loneliness 
of his environment a strength no white teaching 
could ever have g^ven him. SheSord sensed in 
him a measureless grief, an impenetrable gloom, a 
tra^c acceptance of the meaning of Glen Naspa's 
ruin and death — the vanishing of his race from the 
earth. Death had written the law of such bitter 
truth round Glen Naspa's lips, and the same truth 
was here in the grandeur and gloom of the Navajo. 

"Hi Nai," he said, with the beautiful sonorous 
roU in his vcnce, "Glen Naspa is in her grave and 
there are no paths to the place of her sleep. Glen 
Naspa is gone." 

"Gone! Where? Nas Ta Bega, remember Host 
my own faith, and I have not yet learned yours." 

"The Navajo has one mother — the earth. Her 
body has gone to the earth and it will beccnne dust. 
But her spirit is in the air. It shall whisper to me . 
from the wind. I shall hear it on nmning waters. 
It will hide in the momii^ music of a mocking-bird 
and in the lonely nig^t cry of the cafLon hawk. Her 
254 



THE NAVAJO 

blood will go to make the red of the Indian flowers 
and her soul will rest at midnight in the lily that 
opens only to the moon. She will wait in the ^adow 
for me, and live in the great mountain that is my 
home, and for ever step behind me on the trail." 

"You will kill TOlIetts?" demanded Shefford. 

"The Navajo will not seek the missionary," 

"But if you meet Tiim you'll kill him?" 

"Bi Nai, would Nas Ta Bega kjll after it is too 
late? What good could ctmie? The Navajo is 
above revenge." 

"If he crosses my trail I think I couldn't help but 
kill him," muttered SheSord in a passion that wrung 
the threat from him. 

The Indian put his arm round the white man's 
Moulders. 

"Bi Nai, long ago I made you my brother. And 
now you make me your brother. Is it not so? 
Glen Naspa's spirit calls for wisdom, not revenge. 
Willetts must be a bad man. But we'll let him live. 
Life will pimish him. Who knows if he was all to 
blame? Glen Naspa was only one pretty Indian 
girl. There are many white men in the desert. 
She loved a white man when she was a baby. The 
thing was . a curse. . . . Listen, Bi Nai, and the 
Navajo will talk. 

"Many years ago the Spanish padres, the first 
white men, came into the land of the Indian. Their 
search was for gold. But they were not wicked 
men. TTiey did not steal and kill. They taught 
the Indian many useful things. They brought him 
horses. But when they went away they left him 
unsatisfied with his life and his god. 



„Goo^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"Then came the pioneers. They crossed the 
great river and took the pasture-lands and the 
hunting-grounds of the Indian. They drove him 
backward, and the Indian grew sullen. He began 
to fight. Tlie white man's government made treaties 
with the Indian, and these were broken. Then war 
came — fierce and bloody war. The Indian was 
driven to the waste places. The stream of pioneers, 
like a march of ants, spread on into the desert. 
Every valley where grass grew, every river, became a 
place for farms and towns. Cattle dioked the water- 
holes where the buffalo and deer had once gone to 
drink. The forests in the hills were cut and the 
springs dried up. And the pioneers followed to the 
^ge of the desert. 

"Then came the prospectors, mad, like the padres, 
for the gleam of gold. The day was not long enou^ 
for liiem to dig in the creeks and the cafSons; they 
worked in the night. And they brought weapons 
and rum to the Indian, to buy from him the secret 
of the places where the shining gold lay hidden. 

"Then came the traders. And they traded with 
the Indian, lliey gave him little for mudi, and that 
little changed his life. He learned a taste for the 
sweet foods of the white man. Because he could 
trade for a sack of flour he worked less in the field. 
And the very fiber of his bones softened. 

"Then came the missionaries. They were prose- 
lytiza^ for converts to their religion. The mission- 
aries are good men. There may be a bad missionary, 
like Willetts, the same as there are bad men in other 
callings, or bad Indians. Utey say Shadd is a half- 
breed. But the Piutes can tell you he is a full-blood. 



THE NAVAJO 

and he, lilce me, was sent to a white nmn's school. 
In the beginning the missionaries did well for the 
Indian. They taught him cleaner ways of hving, 
better fanning, useful work with tools — many good 
things. But the wrong to the Indian was the un- 
dermining of his faith. It was not humanity that 
sent the missionary to the Indian. Humanity would 
have helped the Indian in his ignorance of sickness 
and work, and left him his god. For to trouble the 
Indian about his god worked at the roots of his 
nature. 

"The beauty of the Indian's life is in his love of 
the open, of all that is nature, of silence, freedom, 
wildness. It is a beauty of mind and soul. Ihe 
Indian would have been content to watch and feel. 
To a white man he might be dirty and lazy — content 
to dream life away without trouble or what the 
white man calls evolution. The Indian mi^t seem 
cruel because he leaves his old father out in the 
desert to die. But the old man wants to die that 
way, alone with his spirits and the sunset. And the 
white man's medicine keeps his old father alive days 
and days after he ought to be dead. Which is more 
cruel? The Navajos used to fight with other tribes, 
and then Ihey were stronger men than they zire to-day. 

"But leaving religion, greed, and war out of the 
question, contact with the white man would alone 
have ruined the Indian. The Indian and the white 
man cannot mix. The Indian brave learns the 
habits of the white man, acquires his diseases, and 
has not the mind or body to withstand them. The 
Indian girl learns to love the white man — and that 
is death of her Indian soul, if not of Ufe. 
257 

D J ■.,,!„ Google 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"So the red man is passing. Tribes once power- 
ful have died in the life of Nas Ta Bega. The curse 
of the white man is already heavy upon my race in 
the south. Here in the north, in the wUdest comer 
of the desert, chased here by the great soldier, 
Carson, the Navajo has made his last stand. 

' ' Bi Nai, you have seen the shadow in the hogan of 
Hosteen Doetin. Glen Naspa has gone to her grave, 
and no sisters, no children, will make paths to the 
place of her sleep. Nas Ta Bega will never have a 
wife — a child. He sees the end. It is the sunset of 
the Navajo. . . . Bi Nai, the Navajo is dying — dying 
— dying I" 



bf Google 



WILD JUSTICE 

A CRESCENT moon hung above the lofty peak 
over the valley and a train of white stars ran 
along the bold rim of the western wall. A few young 
frogs peeped plaintively. The night wjis cool, yet 
had a touch of balmy spring, and a sweeter fragrance, 
as if the cedars and pinons had freshened in the warm 
sun of that day. 

Shefford and Fay were walking in the aisles of 
moonlight and the patches of shade, and Nas Ta 
B^a, more than ever a shadow of his white brother, 
followed them silently. 

"Fay, it's growing late. Feel the dew?" s^d 
Shefford. "Come, I must take you back." 

"But the time's so short. I have s^d nothing 
that I wanted to say," she replied. 

"Say it quickly, tiien, as we go." 

"After all, it's only — ^will you take me away soon?" 

"Yes, very soon. The Indian and I have talked. 
But we've made no plan yet. There are only three 
wa^ to get out of this country. By Stonebii(^e, 
by Kayenta and Durango, and by Red Lake. We 
must dioose one. All are dangerous. We must lose 
time finding Surprise Valley. I hoped the Indian 
359 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

could find it. Then we'd bring Lassiter and Jane 
here and hide them near till dark, then take you and 
go. That would give us a nidi's start. But you 
must help us to Surprise Valley." 

"I can go right to it, blindfolded, or in the dark. 
. . . Oh, John, huiryl I dread the wait. He mi^t 
come again." 

"Joe says — ^they won't come very soon." 

"Is it far — ^where we're going — out of the coun- 
try?" 

"Ten days* hard riding." 

"Oh! TTiat night ride to and from Stonebridge 
nearly killed me. But I could walk very far, and 
climb for ever." 

"Fay, we'll get out of the country if I have to 
carry you." 

When they arrived at the cabin Fay turned on the 
porch step and, with her face nearer a level with his, 
white and sweet in the moonlight, with her eyes 
shining and unfathomable, she was more tiian 
beautiful. 

"You've never been inside my house," she said. 
"Come in. I've something for you." 

"But it's late," he remonstrated. "I suppose 
youVe got me a cake or pie — something to eat. You 
women all think Joe and I have to be fed." 

"No. You'd never guess. Come in," she said, 
and the rare smile on her face was something Shef- 
ford woidd have gone far to see. 

"Well, then, fcM" a minute." 

He crossed the porch, the threshold, and entered 

her home. Her dim, white shape moved in the 

darkness. And he followed into a room where the 

360 



„C<..,g[c 



WILD JUSTICE 

moon shone through the open window, giving soft, 
mellow, shadowy light. He discerned objects, but 
not clearly, for his senses seemed absorbed in the 
strange warmth and intimaq^ of being for the first 
time with her in her home. 

"No, it's not good to eat," she said, and her laugh 
was happy. "Here — " 

Suddenly she abruptly ceased speaking. ShefEord 
saw her plainly, and the slender form had stiffened, 
alert and strained. She was listening. 

"What was that?" she -n^iispered. 

"I didn't hear anything,'' he whispered back. 

He stepped softly nearer the open window and 
listened. 

Clip-clop! clip-clop! dip-dop! Hard hoofs on 
the hard path outside! 

A strong and rippling thrill went over ShefEord. 
In the soft light her eyes seemed unnaturally large 
and black and fearful. 

Clip-clop! clip-clop 1 

The horse stopped outside. Then followed a 
metallic clink of spur against stirrup — thud of boots 
on hard groimd — ^heavy footsteps upon the porch. 

A swift, cold contracticm of throat, of breast, con- 
vulsed SheflEord. His only thought was that he 
could not think. 

"Ho — Mary I" 

A voice liberated both ShefEord's mt^de and mind 
— a voice of strai^^, vibrant power. Authority of 
religion and cruelty of will — ^these Mormon attri- 
butes constituted that power. And Shefford suf- 
fered a transformation which must have been or- 
dered by demons. That sudden flame seemed to 
361 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

curl and twine and shoot along his veins vnth blast- 
ing force. A rancorous and terrible cry leaped to 
his lips. 

"Ho — Mary!" Then came a heavy tread across 
the threshold of the outer room. 

Shefford dared not look at Fay. Yet, dimly, from 
the comer of his eye, he saw her, a pale shadow, 
turned to stone, with her arms out. If he looked, if 
he made sure of that, he was lost. When had he 
drawn his gun? It was there, a dark and gUntii^ 
thing in his hand. He must fly — not throu^ 
cowardice and fear, but because in one more momeat 
he would kill a man. Swift as the thought he dove 
throuE^ the open window. And, leaping up, he ran 
under the dark piiions toward camp. 

Joe Lake had been out late himself. He sat by 
the fire, smoking his pipe. He must have seen or 
heard Shefford coming, for he rose with unwonted 
alacrity, and he kicked the smoldering logs into a 
flickering blaze. 

Shefford, realizing his deliverance, came panting, 
st^^erii^ into the li|^t. The Mormon uttered an 
exclamation. Then he spoke, anxiously, but what^ 
he said was not dear in SheSord's thick and throb- 
bii^ ears. He dropped his pipe, a sign of perturba- 
tion, and he stared. 

But SheSord, without a word, itmged swiftly away 
into the shadow of the cedars. He found relief in 
action. He began a steep ascent of the east wall, 
a dangerous slant he had never dared even in day- 
light, and he climbed it without" a slip. Dai^er, 
steep walls, perilous heights, night, and black cafion 
the same— these he never thought of. But acane- 
363 



X.oo^k 



WILD JUSTICE 

thing drove him to desperate effort, that the hours 
might seem short. 

The red sun was tipping the eastern wall when he 
returned to camp, and he was neither calm nor sure 
of himself nor ready for sleep or food. Only he had 
put the night behind him. 

"Die Indian showed no surprise. But Joe Lake's 
jaw dropped and bis eyes rolled. Moreover, Joe 
bore a singular aspect, the exact nature of which 
did not at once dawn upon Shefford. 

"By God! you've got nerve — or you're crazy!" he 
ejaculated, hoarsely. 

Then it was Sh^ord's turn to stare. TTie Mor- 
mon was haggard, grieved, frightened, and utterly 
amazed. He appeared to be trying to maike certain 
of SheSord's being there in the flesh and then to find 
reason for it. 

"I've no nerve and I am crazy," replied Shefford. 
"But, Joe — what do you mean? Why do you look 
at me like that?" 

"I reckon if I get your horse that 11 square us. 
Did you come back for him? You'd bettei' hit the 
trail quick." 

"It's you now who *re crazy," bttfst out Sh^ord. 

"Wish to God I was," replied Joe. 

It was then Shefford realized catastrophe, and cold 
fear gnawed at bis vitals, so that he was sick. 

"Joe, what has happened?" he asked, 'with tlw 
blood thick in bis heart. 

"Hadn't you better tell me?" demanded the Mor- 
mon, and a red wave blotted out the ha^;ard shade 
of his face. 

18 363 

Diglic^bvGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"You talk like a fool," said SheSord, sharply, and 
he strode right up to Joe. 

"See here, Shefford, we've been pards. You're 
making it hard for me. Reckon you ain't square." 

Shefiord shot out a long arm and bis hand clutched 
the Mormon's burly shoulder. 

"Why am I not square? What do you mean?" 

Joe swallowed hard and gave ^imsftlf a shake. 
Then he eyed his comrade steadily. 

"I was afraid you'd kill him. I reckon I can't 
blame you. I'll help you get away. . . . And I'm a 
MormonI Do you take the htmch? . . . But don't 
deny you killed himl" 

"IGlled whom?" gasped SheSord. 

"Her husbandl" 

SheSord seemed stricken by a slow, paralyzing 
horrcH'. The Mormon's changing face grew huge and 
indistinct and awftd in his sight. He was clutched 
and shaken in Joe's rude hands, yet scarcely felt 
them. Joe seemed to be bellowing at him, but the 
voice was far oS. Then SheSord began to see, to 
hear through some cold and terrible deadness that 
had come between him and everything. 

"Say you killed himl" hoarsdy supplicated the 
Mormon. 

Shefford had not yet ccmtrol of speech. Some- 
thing in his gaze appeared to drive Joe frantic. 

"Damn you! 'Tell me quick. Say you killed 
himl ... If you want to know my stand, why, I'm 
gladi . . . Shefford, don't look so stonyl . . . For her 
sake, say you killed him!" 

SheScnxl stood with a face as gray and still as 

stcme. With a groan the Mormon drew away from 

364 



WILD JUSTICE 

him and sank upon a log. He bowed his head; his 
broad shoulders heaved; husky sounds came from 
him. Then with a violent wrench he plunged to his 
feet and shook himself like a huge, savage dog. 

"Reckon it's no time to weaken," he said, huskily, 
and with the words a dark, hard, somber bitterness 
came to his face. 

"Where — is — she?" whispered ShefEord. 

"Shut up in the school-house," he replied. 

"Did she — did she — " 

"She neither denied nor confessed." 

"Have you — seen her?" 

"Yes." 

"How did — she look?" 

"Cool and quiet as the Indian there. . . . Game as 
heU! She always luid stuff in her." 

"Oh, Joe! . . . It's unbelievable I" cried Shefford. 
"That lovely, innocent girl! She couldn't — she 
couldn't." 

"She's fixed him. Don't think of that. It's too 
late. We ought to have saved her." 

"God! . . . She begged me to hurry — to take her 
away." 

"Think what we can do now to save her," cut in 
the Mormon. 

Shefford sustained a vivifying shock. "To save 
her?" he echoed. 

"Think, man!" 

"Joe, I can hit the trail and let you tell them I 
killed him," burst out Shefford in panting excite- 
ment. 

"Reckon I can." 

"So help me God I'll do it!" 
265 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

The Mormon turned a dark and austere glance 
upon Sh^ord. 

"You mustn't leave her. She killed him for your 

sake You must fight for her now — save her — take 

her away." 

"But the law!" 

"Law!" sccrffed Joe. "In these wilds men get 
killed and there's no law. But if she's taken back 
to Stonebridge those iron-jawed old Mormons will 
make law enough to — to . . . SheflEord, the thing is — 
get her away. Once out of the country, she's SEife. 
Mormons keep their secrets," 

"I'll take her. Joe, will you help me?" 

SheSord, even in his agitation, felt the Mormon's 
silence' to be a consent that need not have been 
asked. And Shefford had a passionate gratefulness 
toward his comrade'. That stulti^dng and blinding 
prejudice which had always seemed to remove a 
Mormon outside the pale of certain virtue suffered 
final eclipse ; and Joe Lake stood out a man, strange 
and crude, but with a heart and a soul. 

"Joe, tell me what to do," said Shefford, with a 
simplicity that meant he needed only to be directed. 

"Pull yourself togeliier. Get your nerve back," 
replied Joe. "Reckon you'd better show yourself 
over there. No one saw you come in this morning 
— ^your absence from camp isn't known. It's bett«" 
you seem curious and shocked like the rest of us. 
Come on. Well go over. And afterward we'll get 
the Indian, and plan." 

They left camp and, crosdng the brook, took the 

shaded path toward liie village. Hope of saving 

Fay, the need of all his strength and nerve and cun- 

366 



WILD JUSTICE 

ning to effect that end, gave SheSord the supreme 
courage to overcome his horror and fear. On that 
short walk under the piAons to Fay's cabin he had 
suffered many changes of emotion, but never any- 
thing like this change which made 'him fierce and 
strong to fight, deep and crafty to plan, hard as iron 
to endure. 

The village appeared very quiet, though groups 
of wcanen stood at the doors of cabins. If they 
talked, it was very low. Hennjnger and Smith, two 
of the three Mormon men living in the village, were 
standing before the closed door of the school-hotise. 
A tigerish feeling thrilled SheSord when he saw them 
on guard there. Shefford purposely avoided looking 
at Fay's cabin as long as he could keep from it 
When he had to look he saw several hooded, whisper- 
ing women in the yard, and Beal, the other Mormon 
man, standing in the cabin door. Upon the porch 
lay the Icoig shape of a man, covered with blankets. 

Shefford experienced a horrible curiosity. 

"Say, Beal, I've fetched Shefford over," said 
Lake. "He's pretty much cut up." 

Beal wagged a solemn head, but said nothing. 
His mind seemed absent or steeped in gloom, and he 
looked up as one silently praying, 

Joe Lake strode upon the little porch and, reaching 
down, he stripped the blanket from the shrouded 
form. 

Shefford saw a sharp, cold, ghastly face. "Wag- 
goner!" he whispered. 

"Yes," replied Lake. 

Waggoner! Shefford remembered the strange 

power in his face, and, now that life had gone, that 

367 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

power was stripped of all di^uise. Death, in Shef- 
ford's years of ministry, had lain under his gaze 
many times and in a multiplicity of aspects, but 
never before had he seen it stamped so strangely. 
SheSord did not need to be told that here was a man 
who beUeved he had cxniversed with God on earth, 
\rtio beUeved he had a divine right to rule women, 
who had a will that would not yield itself to death 
utterly. Waggoner, then, was the devil who had 
come masked to Surprise Valley, had forced a 
martyrdom upon Fay Ijirlfin And this was the 
Mormon who had made Fay LarkLn a murderess. 
SheSord had hated him living, and now he hated him 
dead. Death here was robbed of all nobihty, of 
pathos, of majesty. It was only retribution. Wild 
justice! But alas! that it had to be meted out by a 
white-souled girl whose innocence was as great as 
the tmconsdous savagery which she had assimilated 
from her lonely and wild envircmment. SheSord 
laid a despairing curse upon his own head, and a 
terrible remorse knocked at his heart. He had left 
her alone, this girl in whom love had made the great 
change — like a coward he had left her alone. That 
curse he visited upon himself because he had beea 
the spirit and the motive of this wild justice, and his 
should have been the deed. 

Joe Lake touched SheSord's arm and pcrinted at 
the haft of a knife protruding &om Waggoner's 
breast. It was a wooden haft. Shefford had seen 
it before somewhere. 

Then he was struck with what p^haps Joe meant 

him to see — the angular impression the haft gave of 

one sweeping, accurate, powerful stroke. A stKMig 

36S 



WILD JUSTICE 

arm had driven that blade home. The haft was 
sunk deep; there was a little depression in the cloth; 
no blood showed; and the weapon looked as if it 
could not be pulled out. Shefford's thought went 
fatally and irresistibly to Pay Larkin's strong arm. 
He saw her flash that white arm and lift the heavy 
bucket from the spring with an ease he wondered 
at. He felt the strong clasp of her hand as she had 
given it to him in a flying leap across a crevice upon 
the walls. Yes, her fine hand and the roimd, strong 
arm possessed the strength to have given that blade 
its singular directness and force. The marvel was 
not in the physical action. It hid inscrutably in the 
mystery of deadly passion rising out of a gentle and 
sad heart, 

Joe Lake drew up the blanket and shut from Shef- 
ford's fascinated gaze that spare form, that accuang 
knife, that face of strange, cruel power. 

"Anybody been sent for?" asked Lake of Beal. 

"Yes. Aa Indian boy went for the Piute. We'll 
send him to Stonebridge," replied the Mormon. 

"How soon do you expect any one here from 
Stonebridge?" 

"To-morrow, mebbe by noon." 

"Meantime what's to be done with — this?" 

"Elder Smith thinks the body should stay right 
here where it fell till they come from Stonebridge." 

"Waggoner was found here, then?" 

"Right here," 

"Who found him?" 

"Mother Smith. She came over early. An' the 
sight made her scream. The women all came 
runnin'. Mother Smith had to be put to bed." 
269 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"Who found — Maiy?" 

"See here, Joe, I told you all I knowed once be- 
fore," replied the Mormon, testily. 

"I've forgotten. Was sort of bewildered. Tell 
me again. . . . Who found — ^her?" 

' ' The women folks. She laid right inside the door, 
in a dead faint. She hadn't undressed. There was 
blood on her hands an' a cut or scratch. The wom- 
en fetched her to. But she wouldn't talk. Then 
Elder Smith come an' took her. They've got her 
locked up." 

Then joe led Shefiord away from the cabin farther 
tm into the village. When they were halted by the 
somber, grieving women it was Joe who did the 
talking. They passed the school-house, and here 
Shefford quickened his step. He could scarcely bear 
the feeling that rushed over him. And the Mormon 
gripped his arm as if he understood. 

"SheSord, whidi one of these younger women do 
you reckon your best friend? Ruth?" asked Lake, 
earnestly. 

"Ruth, by all means. Just lately I haven't seen 
her often. But we've been close friends. I think 
she'd do much for me." 

"Maybe there'll be a chance to find out. Maybe 
we'll need Ruth. Let's have a word with her. I 
haven't seen her out among the women." 

They stopped at the door of Ruth's cabin. It was 
dosed. When Joe knocked there came a sound of 
footsteps inside, a hand drew aside the window- 
blind, and presently the door opened. Ruth stood 
there, dressed in scnnber hue. She was a pretty, 
slender, blue-eyed, brown-haired young woman. 
370 



WILD JUSTICE 

Shefford imagined from her pallor and the set look 
of shock upon her face, that the tragedy had aSected 
her more powerfully than it had the other women. 
When he remembered that she had been more 
£riendly with Fay Larkin than any other neighbor, 
he made sure he was right in his conjecture. 

"Come in," was Ruth's greeting. 

"No. We just wanted to say a word. I noticed 
you've not been out. Do you know — all about it?" 

She gave them a strange ^ance. 

"Any of the women folks been in?" added Joe. 

"Hester ran over. She told me through the 
window. Then I barred my door to keep the other 
women out." 

"What for?" asked Joe^ curiously. 

"Please come in," she said, in reply. 

They entered, and she dosed the door after them. 
The change that came over her then was the loosing 
of restraint. 

"Joe — what will they do with Mary?" she queried, 
tensely. 

The Mormon studied her with dark, speculative 
eyes. "Hang her!" he rejoined in brutal harsh- 
ness. 

"O Mother of Saints!" she cried, and her hands 
went up. 

"You're sorry for Mary, then?" asked Joe, bluntly. 

"My heart is breaking for her." 

"Well, so's SheSord's," said the Mormon, huskily. 
"And mine's kind of r\amrt shaky." 

Ruth glided to SheSord with a woman's swift 
softness. 

"You've been my good — my best friend. You 

371 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

were hers, too. Oh, I knowl . . . Can't you do sane- 
thing for her?" 

"I hope to God I can," replied Shefford. 

Then the three stood looking from cme to the 
other, in a strong and subtly realizing moment, 
drawn together. 

"Ruth," whispered Joe, hoarsely, and then he 
glanced fearfully around, at the window and door, 
as if listeners were there. It was certain that his 
dark face had paled. He tried to whisper more, 
only to fail. Shefford divined the weight of Mor- 
monism that burdened Joe Lake then. Joe was 
faithfid to a love for Fay Larkin, noble in friendship 
to Shefford, desperate in a bitter strait with his own 
manliness, but the power of that creed by which he 
had been raised struck his lips mute. For to speak on 
meant to be false to that creed. Already in his 
heart he had decided, yet he could not voice the 
thing. 

"Ruth" — Sh^ord took up the Mormon's im- 
finished whisper — "if we plan to save her — if we 
need you — will you help?" 

Ruth turned white, but an instant and splendid 
fire shone in her eyes. 

"Try me," she whispered back. "I'll change 
places with her — so you can get her away. They 
can't do much to me." 

Shefford wrung her hands. Joe licked his lips and 
found his voice : ' ' We'll ccraie back later. ' ' Then he 
led the way out and Shefford followed. They were 
silent all the way back to camp. 

Nas Ta Bega sat in repose where they had Idt 

him, a thoughtful, somber figure. Shefford went 

373 



WILD JUSTICE 

directly to the Indian, and Joe tarried at the camp- 
fire, where he raked out some red embers and put one 
upon the bowl of his pipe. He puffed clouds of 
white smoke, then foimd a seat beside the others. 

"Shefford, go ahead. Talk. It '11 take a deal of 
talk. I'll listen. Then I'll talk. It '11 be Nas Ta 
Bega who makes the plan out of it all." 

Shefford launched himself so swiftly that he 
scarcely talked coherently. But he made clear the 
points that he must save Fay, get her away from the 
village, let her lead him to Siuprise Valley, rescue 
Lassiter and Jane Withersterai, and take them all out 
of the country. 

Joe Lake dubiously shook his head. Manifestly 
the Surprise Valley part of the situation presented 
a new and serious obstacle. It changed the whole 
thing. To try to take the three out by way of 
Kayenta and Durango was not to be thought of, for 
reasons he briefly stated. The Red Lake trail was 
the only one left, and if that were taken the chances 
were against Shefford. It was five days over sand 
to Red Lake — impossible to hide a trail — and even 
with a day's start Shefford could not escape the 
hard-riding men who would come from Stonebridge. 
Besides, after reaching Red Lake, there. were days 
and days of desert-travel needful to avoid places 
like Blue Canon, Tuba, Moencopie, tind the Indian 
villages. 

"We'll have to risk all that," declared Shefford, 
desperately. 

"It's a fool risk," retorted Joe. "Listen. By to- 
morrow noon all of Stonebridge, more or less, will 
be riding in here. You've got to get away to-night 
273 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

with the girl — or never! And to-monow you've 
got to find that Lassiter and the woman in Surprise 
Valley. This valley must be bade, deep in the cafion 
country. Well, you've got to come out this way 
again. No trail through here would be safe. Why, 
you'd put all your heads iri a ropel . . . You mustn't 
come through this way. It 11 have to be tried across 
country, tM the trails, and that means heU — day- 
and-night travel, no camp, no feed for horses — 
maybe no water. Then you'll have the best trackers 
in Utah like hounds on your trail." 

When the Mormon ceased his forceful speech there 
was a silence fraught with hopeless meaning. He 
bowed his head in ^oom. Shefford, growing sick 
again to his marrow, fought a cold, hateful sense of 
despair. 

"Bi Nai!" In his extremity he called to the 
Indian. 

"The Navajo has heard," replied Nas Ta Bega, 
strangely speaking in his own language. 

With a long, slow heave of breast SheSord felt his 
despair leave him. In the Indian lay his salvation. 
He knew it. Joe Lake caught the subtle ^urit of the 
moment and looked up eageiiy. 

Nas Ta Bega stretched an ann toward the east, 
and spoke in Navajo. But Shefford, owing to the 
hurry and excitement of his mind, could not trans- 
late. Joe Lake listened, gave a vident start, leaped 
up with all his big frame quivering, and then fired 
question after question at the Indian. When the 
Navajo had replied to all, Joe drew himself up as if 
facing an irrevocable decision which wotild wring 
his very soul. What did he cast oflE in that moment? 
274 



WILD JUSTICE 

What did he grai^le inth? ^efford had no means 
to tell, except by the instmct which bafiSed him. 
But whether the Mormon's trial was one of spiritual 
rending or the natural physical fear of a perilous, 
virtually impossible venture, the fact was he was 
magnificent in his acceptance oi it. He tmtied to 
Shefford, white, cold, yet glowing. 

"Nas Ta Bega believes he can take you down a 
caflon to the big river — the Colcffado. He knows 
the head of this canon. Nonnezoshe Boco it's called 
— cafion of the rainbow bridge. He has never been 
down it. Only two or three living Indians have ever 
seen the great stone bridge. But all have heard 
of it. They worship it as a god. There's water 
runs down this caficm and water runs to the river. 
Nas Ta Bega thinks he can take you down to the 
river." 

"Go on," cried Sieffca^. breathlessly, as Joe 
paused. 

"The Indian plans this way. God, it's greati . . . 
If only I can- do my end! ... He plans to take mus- 
tangs to-day and wait with them for you to-night 
or to-morrow till you come with the girl. You'll 
go get Lassiter and the wconan out of Surprise Val- 
ley. Then you'll strike east for Nonnezoshe Boco. 
If possible, you must take a pack of grub. You 
may be days going down — and waiting for me at the 
mouth of the caflon, at the river." 

"Joe! Where will you be?" 

"I'll ride like hell for Kayenta, get another horse 

there, and ride like hell for the San Juan River. 

Iliere's a big flatboat at the Durango crossing. I'll 

go down the San Juan in that-^nto the tag river. 

37S 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

I'll drift down by day, tie up by night, and watch 
for you at the mouth of every cafion till I come to 
Nonnezoshe Boco." 

Shefford could not believe the evidence of his 
ears. He knew the treacherous San Juan River. 
He had heard of the great, sweeping, terrible red 
Colorado and its roaring rapids. 

"Oh, it seems impossible!" he gasped. "You'll 
just lose your life for nothing." 

"The Indian will turn the trick, I tell you. Take 
my hunch. It's nothing for me to drift down a 
swift river. I worked a ferry-boat once." 

Sheiford, to whom flying straws would have 
seemed stable, caught the inflection of defiance and 
daring and hope of the Mormon's spirit. 

"What then — after you meet us at the mouth of 
Nonnezoshe Boco?" he queried. 

"We'll all drift down to Lee's Perry. That's at 
the head of Marble Caflon. We'll get out on the 
south side of the river, thus avoiding any Mormons 
at the ferry. Nas Ta Bega knows the country. It's 
open des«i; — on the other side of these plateaus. 
He can get horses from Navajos. Then you'll strike 
south for Willow Springs." 

"Willow Springs? That's Presbrey's trading- 
post," said Shefford. 

"Never met him. But he'll see you safe out of 
the Painted Desert. . . . The thing that worries me 
most is how not to miss you all at the mouth of 
Nonnezoshe. You must have sharp eyes. But I 
forget the Indian. A bird couldn't pass him. . . . 
And suppose Nonnezoshe Boco has a steep-W2illed, 
narrow mouth opening into a rapids! . . . Whew! 
276 



WILD JUSTICE 

Well, the Indian will figure that, too. Now, let's 
put oiu' heads together and plan how to turn this 
end ctf the trick here. Getting the girl!" 

After a short colloquy it was arranged that 
ShefEord would go to Ruth and talk to her of the aid 
she had promised. Joe averred that this aid could 
be best given by Ruth going in her somber gown and 
hood to the school-house, and there, while Joe and 
SheSord engaged the guards outside, she would 
change apparel and places with Fay and let her 
come forth. 

"What '11 they do to Ruth?" demanded Shefford. 
"We can't accept her sacrifice if she's to suffer — or 
be punished." 

"Reckon Ruth has a strong himdi that she can 
get away with it. Did you notice how strange she 
said that? Well, they can't do much to her. The 
bishop may damn her soul. But — Ruth — " 

Here Lake hesitated and broke c^. Not improb- 
ably he had meant to say that of all the Mormon 
women in the valley Ruth was the least likely to 
suffer from punishment inflicted upon her soul. 

"Anyway, it's our only c h ance," went on Joe, 
"imless we kill a couple of men. Ruth will gladly 
take what comes to help you." 

"All right; I consent," replied Shefford, with 
emotion. "And now after she comes out — ^the sup- 
posed Ruth — ^what then?" 

"You can be natural-like. Go with her back to 
Ruth's cabin. Then stroll off into the cedais. 
Then climb the west wall. Meanwhile Nas Ta Bega 
will ride off with a pack of grub and Nack-yal and 
several other mustangs. He'll wait for you or you'll 
377 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

wait for him, as the case may be, at some appointed 
place. When you're gone I'll jump my horse and hit 
the trail for £ayenta and the San Juan." 

"Very well; that's settled," said Shefford, soberly. 
"Ill go at once to see Ruth. You and Nas Ta 
B^a decide on where I'm to meet him." 

"Reckon you'd do just as well to walk round and 
come up to Ruth's from the other ade — instead of 
going through the village," suggested Joe. 

Sh^ord approached Ruth's cabin in a round- 
about way; nevertheless, she saw him coming before 
he got there and, opening the door, stood pale, com- 
posed, and quieUy bade him enter. Bri^y, in low 
and earnest voice, Sh^ord acquainted her with the 
plan. 

"You love her so much," she said, wistfully, won- 
deringly. 

"Indeed I do. Is it too much to ask of you to do 
l^s thing?" he asked. 

"Do it?" she queried, with a flash of spirit. "Of 
course I'll do it." 

"Ruth, I can't thank you. I can't. I've only a 
faint idea what you're risking. That distresses me. 
I'm afraid of what may happen to you." 

She gave him another of the strange glances. "I 
don't risk so much as you think," she said, sig- 
nificantly. 

"Why?" 

She came close to him, and her hands claq}ed his 
arms and she looked up at him, her eyes darkening 
and her face growing p^er. "Will you swear to loep 
my secret?" she asked, very low. 

"Yes, I swear." 

t78 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



WILD JUSTICE 

"I was one of Waggoner's sealed wives!" 

"God Almighly I" brcdceout Shefford, utterly over- 
whelmed. 
^ "Yes. That's why I say I dcm't risk so mudi. 
I will make up a story to tell the bishop and every- 
body. I'll tell that Waggoner was jealous, that he 
was brutal to Mary, that I believed she was goaded 
to her mad deed, that I thought she ought to be free. 
They'll be terrible. But what can they do to me? 
My husband is dead . . . and if I have to go to hdl 
to keep from marrying another married Mormon. 
I'U gol" 

lii that low, passionate utterance SheSord read 
the death-blow to the old Mormon polygamous 
creed. In the uplift of his spirit, in the joy at this 
revelation, be almost forgot the stem matter at 
hand. Ruth and Joe Lake belonged to a younger 
^neration of Mormons. Their nobility in this in- 
stance was in part a revolt at the conditions of their 
Uves. Doubt was knocking at Joe Lake's heart, and 
conviction had come to this young sealed wife, 
bitter and hopeless while she had been fettered, 
strong and mounting now that she was £ree. In a 
flash of inspiration Shefford saw the old <»:der 
chang^g. 'Die Mormon creed might survive, but 
that part of it whidi was an affront to nature, a 
horrible yoke on women's necks, was doomed. It 
could not live. It could never have survived more 
than a generaticm or two of religious fanatics. 
Shefford had marked a different fcffce and religious 
fervor in the yoimger Mormons, and now he under- 
stood them. 

"Ruth, you talk wildly," he said. "But I un- 

» 379 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

derstand. I see. You are free and you're going to 
stay free. ... It stuns me to think of that man of 
many wives. What did you feel when you were 
told he was dead?" 

I dare not think of that. It makes me widced. 
And lie was good to me. . . . Listen. Last night 
about midnight he came to my window and woke me. 
I got up and let him in. He was in a terrible state. 
I thought he was crazy. He walked the floor and 
called on his saints and prayed. When I wanted to 
light a lamp he wouldn't let me. He was afraid 
I'd see his face. But I saw well enou|^ in the 
moonlight. And I knew something had happened. 
So I soothed and coaxed him. He had been a man 
as close-mouthed as a stone. Yet then I got him 
to talk. ... He had gone to Mary's, and upon enter- 
ing, thought he heard some one with her. She 
didn't answer him at first. When he found hear in 
her bedroom she was hke a ghost. He accused her. 
Her silence made him furious. Then he berated her, 
brought down the wrath of God upon her, threatened 
her with damnation. All of whidi she never seemed 
to hear. But when he tried to touch her she flew 
at him like a she-panther. That's what he called 
her. She said she'd kill him I And she drove him 
out of her house. ... He was all weak and tmstrung, 
and I believe scared, too, when he came to me. She 
must have been a fury. Those quiet, gentle women 
are furies when they're once roiised. Well, I was 
hours up with him and finally he got over it. He 
didn't pray any more. He paced the room. It 
was just daybreak when he said the wrath of God 
had come to him. I tried to keep him from going 



WILD JUSTICE 

back to Mary. But he went. ... An hour later the 
women ran to tell me he had been foimd dead at 
Mary's door." 

"Ruth — she was mad — driven — she didn't know 
what she — was doing," said Shefford, brokenly. 

"She was always a strange girl, more like an 
Indian than any one I ever knew. We called her 
the Sago Lily. I gave her the name. She was so 
sweet, lovely, white and gold, like those flowers. . . . 
And to think! Oh, it's horrible for her! You must 
save her. If you get her away there never will be 
anything come of it. The Mormons will hush it up." 

"Ruth, time is flying," rejoined Shefford, hur- 
riedly. "I must go back to Joe. You be ready for 
us when we come. Wear something loose, easily 
thrown off, and don't forget the long hood." 

"I'll be ready and watching," she said. "The 
sooner the better, I'd say." 

He left her and returned toward camp in the same 
circHng route by which he had come. TTie Indian 
had disappeared and so had his mustang. This 
significant fact augmented Shefford's hurried, thrill- 
ing excitement. But one glance at Joe's face 
changed all that to a sudden numbness, a sink- 
ing of his heart. 

"What is it?" he queried. 

"Look therel" exclaimed the Mormon. 

Shefford's quick eye caught sight of horses and 
men down the valley. He saw several Indians and 
three or four white men. They were making camp. 

"Who are they?" demanded Shefford. 

"Shadd and some of his gang. Reckon that 

Piute told the news. By to-morrow the valley will 

2S1 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

be full as a horse-wrangler's corral. . . . Lucky Nas 
Ta Bega got away before that gai^ rode in. Now 
things won't look as queer as they might have 
looked. The Indian took a pack of grub, six mus- 
tangs, and my guns. Then there was your rifle 
in your saddle-sheath. So you'll be well heeled in 
case you come to dose quarters. Reckon you can 
look for a running fight. For now, as soon as your 
flight is discovered, Shadd will hit your trail. He's 
in with the Mormons. You know him — what 
you'll have to deal with. But the advantage will 
all be yours. You can ambush the trail." 

"We're in for it. And the sooner we're o£E the 
better," replied SheflEord, grimly. 

"Reckon that's gospel. Well — come onl" 

The Mormon strode off, and SheSord, catching up 
with him, kept at his side. Shefford's mind was 
full, but Joe's dark and gloomy face did not invite 
communication. They entered the pinon grove and 
passed the cabin where the tragedy had been en- 
acted. A tarpaidin had been stretched across the 
front porch. Beal was not in sight, nor were any 
of the women. 

"I forgot," said Shefford, suddenly. "Where am 
I to meet the Indian?" 

"Climb the west wall, back of camp," replied 
Joe. "Nas Ta Bega took the Stonebridge trail. 
But he'll leave that, climb the rocks, then hide the 
outfit and come back to watch for you. Reckon 
he'll see you when you top the wall." 

They passed on into the heart of the village. Joe 
tarried at the window of a cabin, and passed a few 
remarks to a woman there, and then he inquired 



WILD JUSTICE 

for Mother Smith at her housel When they left 
here the Mormon gave Sh^ord a nudge. Then 
they separated, Joe going toward the school-house, 
while Shefford bent his steps in the direction of 
Ruth's home. 

Her door opened before he had a chance to knock. 
He entered. Ruth, white and resolute, greeted him 
with a wistful smile. 

"All ready?" she asked. 

"Yes. Aj^e you?" he replied, low-voiced. 

"I've only to put on my hood. I think luck 
favors you. Hester was here and she said Blder 
Smith told some one that Mary hadn't been oflEered 
anything to eat yet. So I'm taking her a little. 
It '11 be a good excuse for me to get in the school- 
house to see her. I can throw oS this dress and she 
can put it on in a minute. Then the hood. I 
mustn't forget to hide her golden hair. You know 
how it flies. But this is a big hood. . . . Well, I'm 
ready now. And — this 's our last time together." 

"Ruth, what can I say — how can I thank you?" 

"I don't want any thanks. It '11 be something to 
think of always — to make me happy. . . . Only I'd 
like to feel you — ^you cared a httle." 

TTie wistful smile was there, a tremor on the sad 
hps, and a shadow of soul-htmger in her eyes. 
SheSord did not misimderstand her. She did not 
mean love, although it was a yearning for real love 
that she mutely expressed. 

"Care! I shall care all my life," he said, with 
strong feeling. "I shall never forget you." 

"It's not likely I'll forget you. . . . Good-by, 
John!" 

383 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Shefford took her in his axms and held her close. 
"Ruth — good-by!" he said, huskily. 

Then he released her. She adjusted the hood and, 
taking up a little tray which held food covered with 
a napkin, she turned to the door. He opened it 
and they went out. 

They did not speak another word. 

It was not a long walk from Ruth's home to the 
school-house, yet if it were to be measured by 
Shefford's emotion the distance would have been 
tmending. The sacrifice offered by Ruth and Joe 
would have been noble imder any circumstances had 
they been Gentiles or persons with no particular 
religion, but, considering that they were Mormons, 
that Ruth had been a sealed wife, that Joe had been 
brought up under the strange, secret, and binding 
creed, their action was no less than tremendous in 
its import. Shefford took it to mean vastly more 
than loyalty to him and pity for Fay Larkin. As 
Ruth and Joe had arisen to this height, so per- 
haps would other young Mormons' have arisen. It 
needed only the situation, the climax, to focus these 
long-insulated, slow-developing and inquiring minds 
upon the truth — thai, one wife, one mother of chil- 
dren, for one m a n at one time was a law of nature, 
love, and righteousness. Shefford felt as if he were 
marching with the whole younger generation of 
Mormons, as if somehow he had been a humble in- 
strument in the working out of their destiny, in the 
awakening that was to eliminate from their rehgion 
the only thing which kept it from being as good for 
man, and perhaps as true, as any other religion. 

And then suddenly he turned the comer of the 



WILD JUSTICE 

school-house to encounter Joe talking with the Mor- 
mcm Henninger. Elder Smith was not present. 

"Why, hello, Ruth!" greeted Joe. "You've fetched 
Mary some dinner. Now that's good of you." 

"May I go in?" asked Ruth. 

"Red£on so," replied Henninger, scratching his 
head. He appeared to be tractable, and probably 
was good-natured under pleasant conditions. "She 
ou^t to have somethin' to eat. An' nobody 'pears 
to have iMnembered thet — ^we're so set up." 

He unbarred the htige, clumsy door and allowed 
Ruth to pass in. 

"Joe, you can go in if you want," he said. "But 
hurry out brfore Elder Smith comes back from his 
dinner." 

Joe mumbled something, gave a husky cough, and 
then went in. 

Shefford expraienced great difficulty in presenting 
to this mild Mcnmon a natural and unagitated front. 
Wheaj all his internal structure seemed to be in a 
state of turmoil he did not see how it was possible 
to keep the fact from showing in his face. So he 
turned away and took aimless steps here and there. 

"'Pears Hke we'd hev rain," observed Henninger. 
"It's right warm an' them clouds are onseasonable." 

"Yes," repUed ShefEord. "Hope so. A little 
rain would be good for the grass." 

"Joe tells me Shadd rode in, an' some of his 
fellers.'* 

"So I see. About eight in the party." 

Shefford was gritting his teeth and preparing to 
endure the ordeal of controlling his mind and ex- 
pression when the door opened and Joe stalked out. 
28s 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

He ha4 his sombrero pulled down so that it hid the 
upper half c£ his face. His lips were a, shade oS 
healthy color. He stood there with his back to the 
door. 

"Say, what Mary needs is quiet— to be left alone," 
he said. "Ruth says if she rests, sleeps a little, 
she won't get fever. . . . Henninger, don't let any- 
body disturb her till ni^^t." 

"All right, Joe," replied the Mormon. "An* I 
take it good of Ruth an' you to concern yourselves." 

A slight tap cm the indde of the door sent SheCFord's 
pulses to throbbing. Joe opened it with a strong 
and vigorous sweep that meant more than the mere 
action. 

"Ruth — reckon you didn't stay long," he said, 
and his voice rang clear. "Sure you feel side and 
weak. Why, seeing her flustered even me!" 

A slender, dark-garbed wcmian wearing a long 
black hood stepped uncertainly out. She appeared 
to be Ruth. Shcfford's heart stood still because 
she looked so like Ruth. But she did not st^ 
steadily, she seemed dazed, she did not raise the 
hooded head. 

"Go home," said Joe, and his voice rang a Uttle 
louder. "Take her home, Sh^ord. Or, better, 
walk her round some. She's faintish, . . , And see 
here, Henninger — " 

SheSord led the girl away with a hand in ap- 
parent carelessness on her arm. After a few rods she 
walked with a freer step and then a swifter. He 
found it necessary to malra that hold on her arm a 
real one, so as to keep her frtnn walking too fosL 
No one, however, appeared to observe them. When 



WILD JUSTICE 

they passed Ruth's house then Shefford began to 
lose his fear that this was not Fay Larkin. He was 
far from being cahn or clear-sifted. He thot^t 
he recognized that free step; nevertheless, he could 
not make sure. When they passed under the trees, 
crossed the brook, and turned down along the west 
wall, then doubt ceased in Sh^ord's mind. He 
knew this was not Ruth. Still, so strange was his 
agitation, so keen his suspense, that he needed con- 
firmation of ear, of eye. He wanted to hear her 
voice, to see her face. Yet just as strangely there 
was a twist of feeling, a reluctance, a sa<^ess that 
kept off the moment. 

They reached the low, slow-swelling slant of wall 
and, started to ascend. How impossible not to 
recognize Fay Lzirkin now in that swift grace and 
skill on the steep wall! Still, though he knew her, 
he perversely clung to the unreality of the moment. 
But when a .long braid of dead-gold hair tumbled 
from under the hood, then his heart leaped. That 
identified Fay Larldn. He had freed her. He was 
taking her away. Then a sadness embittered his 
joy- 
As always before, she distanced him in the ascent 
to the top. She went 'on without looking back. 
But Shefford had an irresistible desire to look again 
and the last time at this valley where he had suf- 
fered and loved so much. 



bf Google 



SURPRISE VALLEY 

FROM the summit of the wall the plateau waved 
away in red and yellow ridges, with here and 
there little valleys green with cedar and pifion. 

Upon one of these ridges, silhouetted against the 
sky, appeared the stalking figure of the Indian, He 
had espied the fugitives. He disappeared in a 
niche, and presently came again into view round 
a comer of cUff, Here he waited, and soon Shef- 
ford and Fay joined him. 

"Bi Nai, it is well," he said. 

Shefford eagerly asked for the horses, and Nas 
Ta Bega silently pointed down the niche, which was 
evidently an opening into one of the shallow canons. 
Then he led the way, walking swiftly. It was 
SheSord, and not Fay, who had difficulty in keeping 
close to him. This speed caused Shefford to become 
more alive to the business, instead of the feeling, of 
the flight. The Indian entered a crack between low 
cliffs — a very narrow caflon fuU of rocks and cliunps 
of cedars — and in a half-hour or less he came to 
where the mustangs were halted among some cedars. 
Three of the mustangs, including Nack-yal, were 
saddled; one bore a small pack, and the remaining 
two had blankets strapped on their backs. 



SURPRISE VALLEY 

"Pay, can you ride in that long skirt?" asked 
Shefford. How strange it seemed that his first 
words to her were practical when all his impas- 
sioned thought had been only mute! But the 
instant he spoke he experienced a relief, a relaxation. 

"I'll take it ofE," replied Fay, just as practically. 
And in a twinkling she slipped out of both waist 
and skirt. She had worn them over the short white- 
flannel dress with which Shefford had grown familiar. 

As Nack-yal appeared to be the safest mustang 
for her to ride/Sh^ord helped her upon him and 
then attended to the stirrups. When he had ad- 
justed them to the proper length he drew the bridle 
over Nack-yal's head and, upon handing it to her, 
found himself suddenly lookhig into her face. She 
had taken off the hood, too. The instant their eyes 
met he realized that she was strangely afraid to 
meet his glance, as he was to meet hers. That 
seemed natural. But her face was flushed and liiere 
were unmistakable signs upon it of growing ex- 
citement, of mounting happiness. Save for that 
fugitive glance she would have been the Fay Larkin 
of yesterday. How he had expected her to look he 
did not know, but it was not like this. And never 
had he felt her strange quality of simplicity so 
powerfully. 

"Have you ever been here — ^through this little 
cafion?" he asked. 

"Oh yes, lots of times." 

"You'll be able to lead us to Surprise Valley, you 
think?" 

"I know it. I shall see Uncle Jim and Mother 
Jane before sunset!" 



By Google 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"I hope — you do," he replied, a little shakily. 
"Perhaps we'd better not tell them of the — the — 
about what happened last night." 

Her beautiful, grave, and troubled ^aace returned 
to meet his, and he received a shodc that he con- 
adered was amaze. And after more swift considera- 
tion he bdieved he was amazed because that look, 
instead of betraying fear or gloom or any haunting 
shadow of darkness, betrayed apprehension for him 
— grave, sweet, troubled love for him. She was not 
tl^iking of herself at all — of what he might think 
of her, of a possible gulf between them, of a vast and 
terrible d:ange in the relation of soul to soul. He 
experienced a profound gladness. Though he could 
not understand her, he was happy that the horror 
of Waggoner's death had escaped her. He loved 
her, he meant to give his life to her, and ri^t then 
and there he accepted the burden of her deed and 
meant to bear it without ever letting her know 
erf the shadow between them. 

"Pay, we'll foi^et — ^what's behind us," he said. 
"Now to find Sinprise Valley. Lead on. Nack-yal 
is gentle. Pull him the way you want to go. We'll 
follow." 

Sh^ord mounted the other saddled mustang, and 
they set off. Fay in advance. Presently they rode 
out of this cafion up to level cedar-patched, soUd 
rock, and here Pay turned straight west. Evidently 
she had been over the ground before. The heights 
to which he had climbed with her were up to the 
left, great slopes and looming promontories. And 
the course she chose was as level and easy as any 
he could have picked out in that direction. 
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SURPRISE VALLEY 

When a mile or more of this up-and-down travel 
had been traversed Fay halted and appeared to be 
at fault. The plateau was losing its rounded, 
smooth, wavy characteristics, and to the west grew 
bolder, more rugged, more cut up into low crags and 
buttes. After a long, sweeping glance Pay headed 
straight for this rougher country. Thereafter from 
time to time she repeated this action. 

"Fay, how do you know you're going in the right 
direction?" asked ShefEord, anxioiisly. 

"I never forget any grotmd I've been over. I 
keep my eyes close ahead. All that seems strange 
to me is the wrong way. What I've seen before 
must be the right way, because I saw it when they 
brought me from Surprise Valley." 

Shefford had to acknowledge that she was follow- 
ing an India n 's instinct for ground he had once 
covered. 

Still Shefford began to worry, and finally dropped 
back to question Nas Ta Bega. 

*'Bi Nai, she has the eye of a Navajo," replied the 
Indian. "Look! Iron-shod horses have passed here. 
See the marks in the stone?" 

Shefford indeed made out faint cut tracks that 
would have escaped his own sight. They had been 
made long ago, but they were unmistakable. 

"She's following the trail by memory — she must 
remember the stones, trees, sage, cactus," said 
Sh^ord in surprise. 

"Pictures in her mind," replied the Indian. 

Thereafter the farther she progressed the less at 
fault she appeared and the faster she traveled. She 
made several mUes an hour, and about the middle 



.Cooglc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

of the afternoon entered upon the more broken regicm 
of the plateau. View became restricted. Low walls, 
and ruined cliffs of red rock with cedars at their base, 
and gullies growing into caiSons and cations opening 
into larger ones — these were passed and crossed 
and climbed and rimmed in travel that grew more 
difficult as the going became wilder, llien there 
was a steady ascent, up and up all the time, though 
not steep, until another level, green with cedar and 
piilon, was reached. 

It reminded Shefford of the forest near the mouth 
of the Sagi. It was so dense he could not see far 
aliead of Fay, and often he lost sight of her entirely. 
Presently he rode out of the forest into a strip of 
purple sage. It ended abruptly, and above that 
abrupt line, seemingly far away, rose a long, red 
wall. Instantly he recognized tiiat to be the oppo- 
site wall of a canon which as yet he could not see. 

Fay was acting strangely and he hurried forward. 
She slipped off Nack-yal and fell, sprang up and ran 
wildly, to stand upon a promontory, her arms up- 
lifted, her hair a mass of moving gold in the wind, 
her attitude one of wild and eloquent significance. 

Shefford ran, too, and as he ran the red wall in 
his eager sight seemed to enlarge downward, deeper 
and deeper, and then it merged into a strip of green, 

Suddenly beneath him yawned a red-walled gulf, 
a deceiving gulf seen throu^ transparent haze, a 
softly shining green-and-white valley, strange, wild, 
beautiful, like a picture in his memory. 

"Surprise Valley!" he cried, in wondering recc^ni- 
tion. 

Fay Larkin waved her arms as if they were wings 
392 



SURPRISE VALLEY 

to cany her swiftly downward, and her plamtive cry 
fitted the wildness of her qianner and the lonely 
height where she leaned. 

Shefford drew her back from the rim. 

"Fay, we are here," he said. "I recognize the 
valley. I miss only one thing — the arch of stone." 

His words seemed to recall her to reality. 

"The arch? That fell when the wall ^pped, in 
the great avalanche. See ! There is the place. 
We can get down there. Oh, let us hurry!" 

The Indian reached the rim and his falcon gaze 
swept the valley. "Ugh!" he exclaimed. He, too, 
recognized the valley that he had vainly sought 
for half a year. 

"Bring the lassos," said Shefford. 

With Fay leading, they followed the rim toward 
the head of the valley. Here the wall had caved in, 
and there was a slope of jumbled rock a thousand 
feet wide and more than that in depth. It was easy 
to descend because there were so many rocks waist- 
high that afforded a handhold. Sh^ord marked, 
however, that Fay never took advantage of these. 
More than once he paused to watch her. Swiftly 
she went down; she stepped from rock to rock; 
lightly she crossed cracks and pits; she ran along 
the sharp and broken edge of a long ledge; die 
■poised on a pointed stone and, sure-footed as a 
mountain-sheep, she sprang to another that had 
scarce surface for a foothold; her moccasins flashed, 
seemed to hold wondrously on any angle; and when 
a rock tipped or slipped with her she leaped to a 
surer stand. Shefford watched her performance, so 
swift, agile, so perfectly balanced, showing such 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

wonderful accord between eye and foot; and then 
when he swept his gaze down upon that wild valley 
where she had roamed alone for twelve years he 
marveled no more. 

The farther down he got the greater became the 
^ze of rocks, until he found him self amid huge 
pieces of diff as large as houses. He lost sig^t of 
Fay entirely, an4 he anxiously threaded a narrow, 
winding, descending way between the broken masses. 
Finally he came out upon flat rock again. Fay 
stood on another rim, looking down. He saw that 
the slide had moved far out into the valley, and the 
lower part of it consisted c^ great sections of wall. 
In fact, the base of the great wall bad just moved 
out with the avalanche, and this much of it held its 
vertical position. Looking upward, Shefford was 
astounded and thrilled to see how far he had de- 
scended, how the walls leaned like a great, wide, 
curving, continuous rim of mountain. 

"Herel Here!" called Fay. "Here's where they 
got down — ^where they brought me up. Here are 
the sticks they used. They stuck them in this crack, 
down to that ledge." 

SheSord ran to her ^de and looked down. There 
was a narrow spUt in this section of wall and it was 
perhaps sixty feet in depth. The floor of rock bdow 
led out in a ledge, wi^ a sheer drop to the valley 
leveL 

As Shefford gazed, pondering on a way to descend 
lower, the Indian reached his side. He had no 
sooner looked than he proceeded to act. Selectii^ 
one c£ the stidcs, which were strong peces of cedar, 
well hewn and trimmed, he jammed it between the 

394 



)o.i[c 



SURPRISE VALLEY 

walls of the crack till it stuck fast. Then sitting 
astride tiiis one he jammed in another some three 
feet below. When he got down upon that one it was 
necessary for SheffcMrd to drop him a third stick. In 
a comparatively short" time the Indian reached the 
ledge below. Then he called for the lassos. Shef- 
ford threw them down. His next move was an at- 
tempt to assist Fay, but she slipped out of his grasp 
and descended the ladder with a swiftness that made 
him hold his breath. Still, when his turn came, her 
spirit so governed him that he went down as swiftly, 
and even leaped sheer the last tai feet. 

Nas Ta Bega and Fay were leaning over the ledge. 
"Here's the place," ^e said, excitedly. "Let me 
down on the rope." 

It took two thirty -foot lassos tied together to 
rea c h the floor of the valley. Shefford folded his 
vest, put it round Fay, and slipped a loop of the 
lasso tmder her arms. Then he and Nas Ta B^a 
lowered her to the grass below. Fay, throwing off 
the loop, bounded away like a wild creature, uttering 
the strangest cries he had ever heard, and she dis- 
appeared along the walL 

"I'll go down," s^d Shefford to the Indian. 
"You stay here to hdp pull us up." 

Hand over hand Shefford descended, and when 
h^ feet touched the grass he eq>erienced a shock 
of the most singular exultation. 

"In Surprise Vall^!" he breathed, softly. The 
dream that had come to him vnth his friend's story, 
the years of waiting, wondering, and then the long, 
fruitless, hopeless search in the desert uplands — these 
were in his mind as he turned along the wall where 
» 395 



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THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Pay had disappeared. He faced a wide terrace, 
green with grass and moss and starry with strange 
white flowers, and dark-fohaged, spear-pointed 
spruce-trees. Below the terrace sloped a bench 
covered with thick copse, and this merged into a 
forest of dwarf oaks, and beyond that was a beautiful 
strip of white aspens, their leaves quivering in the 
stillness. The air was close, sweet, warm, fragrant, 
and remarkably dry. It reminded him of the air he 
had smelled in dry caves under cliffs. He reached a 
pcant from where he saw a meadow dotted with red- 
and-white-spotted cattle and little black burros. 
There were many of them. And he remembered 
with a start the agony of toil and peril Venters had 
endured bringing the progenitors of this stock into 
the valley. What a strange, wild, beautiful story it 
aU was! But a story connected with this valley 
could not have been otherwise. 

Beyond the meadow, on the other side of the 
valley, extended the forest, and that ended in the 
rising bench of thicket, which gave place to green 
sl<^>e and mossy terrace of sharp-tipped spruces — 
and aU this led the eye irresistibly up to the red wall 
where a vast, dark, wonderful cavern yawned, with 
its rust-colored streaks of stain on the wall, and the 
queer little houses of the cliff-dwellers, with their 
black, vacant, silent windows speaking so weirdly 
of the unknown past. 

Shefford passed a place where the ground had 
been cultivated, but not as recently as the last six 
months. There was a scant shock of com and many 
meager standing stalks. He became aware of a low, 
whining hum and a &agrance overpowering in its 
396 



SURPRISE VALLEY 

sweetness. And there round another comer of wall 
he came upcm an ordiard all pink and white in 
blossom and melodious with the buzz and hum of 
innumerable bees. 

He crossed a little stream that had been danmied, 
went along a pond, down beside an irrigation-ditch 
that furnished water to orchard and vineyard, and 
from there he strode into a beautiful cove between 
two jutting comers of red wall. It was level and 
green and the spruces stood gracefully everywhere. 
Beyond their dark trunks he saw caves in the wall. 

Suddenly the fragrance of blossom was over- 
whelmed by the stronger fragrance of smoke from a 
wood fire. Swiftly he strode under the spruces. 
Quail fluttered before him as tame as chickens. 
Big gray rabbits scarcely moved out of his way. 
The branches above him were full of mocking- 
birds. And then^ — there before him stood three 
figures. 

Fay Larldn was held close to the side of a magnif- 
icent woman, barbarously clad in garments made of 
skins and pieces of blanket. Her face worked in 
noble emotion. Shefford seemed to see the ghost 
of that fair beauty Venters had said was Jane 
Withersteen's, Her hair was gray. Near her sto d 
a lean, stoop-shouldered man whose long hair was 
perfectly white. His gaunt face was bare of beard. 
It had strange, sloping, sad lines. And he was 
staring with mild, surprised eyes. 

The moment held Sheffcffd mute till sight of Fay 
Larkin's tear-wet face broke the spell. He leaped 
forward and his strong hands reached for the woman 
and the man. 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"Jane Withersteen! . . . Lassiterl I have found 
youl" 

"Oh, sir, who are you?" she cried, with rich and 
deep and quivering voice. "This child came run- 
ning — screaming. She could not speak. We thought 
she had gone mad — and escaped to come back to 
us." 

"I am John ShefEord," he replied, swiftly. "I 
am a friend of Bern Venters — of his wife Bess. I 
learned your story. I came west. I've searched a 
year. I found Fay. And we've come to take you 
away." 

"You found Pay? But that masked Mormon 
who forced her to sacrifice herself to save us! . . . 
What of him? It's not been so many long years — I 
remember what my father was — and Dyer and TuU 
— all those cruel churchmen." 

"Waggoner is dead," replied Shefford. 

"Dead? She is free I Oh, what — ^how did he 
die?" 

"He was killed." 

"Who did it?" 

"That's no matter," replied Shefford, stonily, and 
he met her gaze with steady eyes. "He's out of the 
way. Fay was never his wife. Fay's free. We've 
come to take you out of the country. We must 
huny. We'll be tracked — pursued. But we've 
horses and an Indian guide. We'll get away. ... I 
think it better to leave here at once. Tt^re's no 
telling how soon we'll be hunted. Get what things 
you want to take with you." 

' ' Oh — yes — ^Mother Jane, let us hurry I" cried Fay. 
"I'm so full — I can't talk — my heart hurts so!" 



„,>([.' 



SURPRISE VALLEY 

Jane Withersteen's face shone with an exceedingly 
radiant light, and a glory blended with a terrible 
fear in her eyes. 

"Fay! my little Fay!" 

Lassiter had stood there with his mild, clear blue 
eyes upon Shefford. 

"I diore am glad to see you-all," he drawled, and 
extended his hand as if ^e meeting -were casual. 
"What 'd you say your name was?" 

SheSord repeated it as he met the proffered hand. 

"How's Bern an' Bess?" Lassiter inquired. 

"They were well, prosperous, happy when last I 
saw them. . . . They had a baby." 

"Now ain't thet fine? . . . Jane, did you hear? 
Bess has a baby. An', Jane, didn't I always say 
Bern would come back to get us out? Shore it's 
just the same." 

How cool, easy, slow, and mild this Lassiter 
seemed! Had the man grown old, Shefford won- 
dered? The past to him manifestly was only yes- 
terday, and the danger of the present was as nothing. 
Lookhig in Lassiter's face, Shefford was baffled. If 
he had not remembered the greatness c^ this old 
gun-man he might have believed that the lonely 
years in the valley had unbalanced his mind. In an 
hour like this coohiess seemed inexplicable — as- 
siuredly would have been impossible in an ordinary 
man. Yet what hid behind that drawling coolness? 
What was the meaning of those long, slopang, shadowy 
lines of the face? What spirit lay in the deep, mild, 
clear eyes ? Shefford experienced a sudden check to 
what had been his first growing impression erf a 
drifting, broken old man. 



by Google 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

" Lasater, pack what little you can cany — 
mustn't be much — and we'll get out of here," said 
ShefEord. 

"I shore will. Reckon I ain't a-goin' to need a 
pack-train. We saved the clothes we wore in here. 
Jane never thoiight it no use. But I figgered we 
might need them some day. They won't be stylish, 
but I reckon they'll do better 'n these skins. An' 
there's an old coat thet was Venters's." 

The mild, dreamy look became intensified in 
Lassiter's eyes. 

"Did Venters have any bosses when you knowed 
him?" he asked. 

"He had a iaim full of horses," replied Shefford, 
with a smile. "And there were two blacks — ^the 
grandest horses I ever saw. Slack Star and Night! 
You remember, Lassiter?" 

"Shore. I was wonderin' if he got the blacks out. 
They must be growin' old by now. . . . Grand hosses, 
they was. But Jane had another hoss, a big devil of 
a sorrel. His name was Wrangle. Did Venters ever 
tell you about him — an' thet race with Jerry Card?" 

"A hundred times!" replied ShefEord. 

"Wrangle run the blacks off their legs. But Jane 
never would believe thet. An' I couldn't change her 
all these years. . . . Reckon mebbe we'll get to see 
them blacks?" 

"Indeed, I hope — I believe you will," replied 
Shefford, feelingly. 

"Shore won't thet be fine. Jane, did you hear? 
Black Star an' Night are livin' an' we'll get to see 
them." 

But Jane Withersteen only clasped Pay in her 
300 



SURPRISE VALLEY 

arms, and looked at Lassiter with wet and gUstening 
eyes. 

Sh^ord told them to hurry and come to the 
cliff where the ascent from the valley was to be made. 
He thought best to leave them alone to make their 
preparations and bid farewell to the cavern home 
they had known for so long. 

Then he strolled back along the wall, loitering here 
to gaze into a cave, and there to study crude red 
paintings in the nooks. And sometimes he halted 
thoughtfully and did not see anything. At length 
he rounded a comer of diS to e^y Nas Ta Bega 
sitting upon the ledge, reposefid and watchful as 
usual. Shefford told the Indian they would be 
climbing out soon, and then he sat down to wait and 
let his gaze rove over the vall^. 

He might have sat there a long while, so sad and 
reflective and wondering was his thought, but it 
seemed a very short time till Pay came in sight with 
her free, swift grace, and Lassiter and Jane some 
distance behind. Jane carried a small bundle and 
Lassiter had a sack over his shoulder that appeared 
no inconsiderable burden. 

"Them beans shore is heavy," he drawled, as he 
deposited the sack upon the ground. 

ShefEord curiously took hold of the sack and was 
amazed to find that a second and hard muscular 
effort was required to lift it. 

"Beans?" he queried. 

"Shore," replied Lassiter. 

"That's the heaviest sack of beans I ever saw. 
Why — it's not possible it can be. . . . Lassiter, we've 
a long, rough trail. We've got to pack light." 
301 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"Wal, I ain't a-goin' to leave this h^e sack be- 
hind. Reckon I've been all of twelve years in fillin' 
it," he declared, mildly. 

ShefEord could only stare at him. 

"Fay may need them beans," went on Lassiter. 

"Why?" 

"Because they're gold." 

"Gold!" ejaculated Shefford. 

"Shore. An' they represent some work. Twelve 
years of diggin' an' wasn't" 

Shefford laughed constrainedly. "We^. Lassiter, 
that alters the case considerably. A sack of gold 
ni^gets or grains, or beans, as you call them, cer- 
tainly must not be left behind. . . , Come, now, we'll 
tackle this climbing job." 

He called up to the Indian and, grasping the r(^>e, 
began to walk up the first slant, and then by dint 
of hand-over-hand effort and climbing with knees 
and feet he succeeded, with Nas Ta Bega's help, in 
making the ledge. Then he let down the rope to 
haul up the sack and bundle. That done, he di- 
rected Fay to fasten the noose round her as he had 
fixed it before. When she had complied he called 
to her to hold herself out from the wall while he and 
Nas Ta Bega hauled her up. 

"Hold the rope tight," replied Fay. "I'll walk 
up." 

And to Shefford's amaze and admiration, she vir- 
tually walked up that almost perpendicular wall by 
slipping her hands along the rope and stepping as she 
piJled herself up. There, if never before, he saw the 
fruit of her years of experience on steep slopes. Only 
such experience could have made the feat possible. 
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SURPRISE VALLEY 

Jane had to be hatiled up, and the task was a pain- 
ful one for her. lassiter's turn came then, and he 
showed more strength and agility than Sh^ord had 
supposed him capable d. From the ledge they 
turned their attenticm to the narrow crack with its 
ladder of sticks. Pay had already ascended and 
now hung over the rim, her white face and golden 
hair framed vividly in the narrow stream of blue sky 
above. 

"Mother Jane! Uncle Jim! You are so slow," 
she called. 

"Wal, Fay, we haven't been seccmd cousins to a 
canon squirrel all these years," replied Lassiter. 

This upper half of the climb bid fair to be as 
di£BcuIt for Jane, if not so painful, as the lower. 
It was necessary for the Indian to go up and drop the 
rope, which was looped around her, and then, with 
him pulling from above and SheSord assisting Jane 
as she climbed, she was finally gotten up without 
mishap. MTien Lassiter readied the level they 
rested a little while and then faced the great slide 
of jumbled rocks. Pay led the way, light, supple, 
tireless, and SheSord never ceased looking at her. 
At last they surmounted the long slope and, winding 
along the rim, reached the point where Fay had led 
out of the cedars. 

Nas Ta Bega, then, was the one to whom ShefiEord 
looked for every decision or action of the irmnediate 
future. The Indian said he had seen a pool of water 
in a rocky hole, that the day was spent, that here was 
a little grass for the mustangs, and it would be well 
to camp right there. ' So while Nas TaB^a attended 
to the mustang Shefford set about such prepara- 
303 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

tions for camp and supper as their lig^t pack af- 
forded. Hie question of beds was easily answered, 
for the mats of soft needles under pifion and cedar 
would be comfortable places to sleep. 

When Sh^OTd felt free again the sun was setting. 
Lassiter and Jane were walking under the trees. 
The Indian had returned to camp. But Fay was 
nussing. Shefford imagined he knew where to find 
her, and upon going to the edge of the forest he saw 
her sitting on the promontory. He approached her, 
drawn in spite of a feeling that perhaps he ought 
to stay away. 

"Fay, would you rather be alcme?" he asked. 

His voice startled her. 

"I want you," she replied, and held out her hand. 

Taking it in his own, he sat beside her. 

The red sun was at their backs. Surprise Vall^ 
lay hazy, dusky, shadowy beneath them. The op- 
posite wall seemed fired by crimson flame, save far 
down at its base, which the sun no longer touched. 
And the dark line of red slowly rose, encroaching 
upon the bright crimson. Changing, transparent, 
yet dusky veils seemed to float between the walls; 
long, red rays, where the sun shone throiigh notch 
or crack in the rim, split the darker spaces; deep 
down at the floor the forest darkened, the strip of 
aspen paled, the meadow turned gray; and all under 
the shelves and in the great caverns a purple gloom 
deepened. Then the sun set. And swiftly twilight 
was there below while day lingered above. On 
the opposite wall the fire died and the stone grew 
cold. 

A cafion nig^t-hawk voiced his lonely, weird, and 
304 



SURPRISE VALLEY 

melancholy cry, and it seemed to pierce and mark 
the silence. 

A pale star, peering out of a sky that had begun 
to turn blue, marked the end of twilight. And all 
the purple shadows moved and hovered and changed 
till, softly and mysteriously, they embraced black 
night. 

Beautiful, wild, strange, silent Surprise Valley! 
Shefford saw it before and beneath him, a dark 
abyss now, the abode of loneliness. He imagined 
faintly what was in Fay Larkin's heart. For the 
last l^e she had seen the sun set there and night 
come with its dead ^ence and sweet mystery and 
phantom shadows, its velvet blue sky and white 
trains of stars. 

He, who had dreamed and longed and searched, 
found that the hour had been incalculable for him 
in its impart. 



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w^. 



XVII 

THB TRAIL TO NONNBZOSHB 

7 HEN ShefEord awoke next morning and sat 
up on his bed of pificm boughs the dawn had 
broken cold with a ruddy gold brightness under the 
trees. Nas Ta Bega and Lassiter were busy arotind 
a camp-fire; the mustangs were haltered near by; 
Jane Withersteen combed out her long, tangled 
tresses with a crude wooden comb; and Fay Larldn 
was not in sight. As she had been missing from the 
group at sunset, so she was now at sunrise. SheScwd 
went out to take his last look at Surprise Valley. 

On the evening before the valley had been a place 
of dusky red veils and purple shadows, and now it 
was pink -walled, clear and rosy and green and 
white, with wonderful shafts of gold slanting down 
from the notched eastern rim. Fay ■ stood on the 
promontory, and SheSord did not break the sp^ 
of her silent farewell to her wild home. A strange 
emotion abided with liim and he knew he would 
always, all his life, regret leaving Stuprise Valley. 

Then the Indian called, 

"Come, Fay," said Shefford, gently. 

And she tinned away with dark, haunted eyes 
and a white, still face. 

306 

DiglidbyGoOglc 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

The somber Indian gave a silent gesture for Shef- 
ford to make haste. While they had breaMast 
the mustangs were saddled and packed. And soon 
all was in readiness for the flight. Fay was given 
Nack-yal, Jane the saddled horse Shefford had 
ridden, and Lassiter the Indian's roan. Shefford 
and Nas Ta Bega were to ride the blanketed mus- 
tangs, and the sixth and last one bcae the pack. 
Nas Ta Bega set off, leading this horse; the others 
of the party lined in behind, with Shefford at the 
rear. 

Nas Ta Bega led at a brisk trot, and sometimes, 
on level stretches of ground, at an easy canter; and 
Shefford had a grim realization of what this flight 
was going to be for these three fugitives, now so 
unacaistomed to riding. Jane and Lassiter, how- 
ever, needed no watching, and showed they had 
never forgotten how to manage a horse. The 
Indian back-trailed yesterday's path for an hour, 
then headed west to the left, and entered a low 
pass. All parts of this plateau country looked alike, 
and Shefford was at some pains to tell the difference 
of this strange grotmd frcnn that which he had been 
over. In another hour they got out of the rugged, 
broken rock to the wind-worn and smooth, shallow 
cafions. Shefford calculated that they were coming 
to the end of the plateau. The low walls slanted 
lower; the canon made a turn; Nas Ta Bega disap- 
peared; and then the otherd of the party. When 
Shefford turned the comer of wall he saw a short 
strip of bare, rocky ground with only sky beyond. 
The Indian and his followers had halted in a group. 
Shefford rode to them, halted himself, and in one 
307 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

sweeping glance realized the meaning of their silent 
gaze. But immediately Nas Ta Bega started down, 
and the mustangs, without word or touch, followed 
him. Shefford, however, lingered on the promon- 
tory. 

His gaze seemed impelled and held by things afar 
— ^the great yellow-and-purple corrugated world of 
distance, now on a level with his eyes. He was 
drawn by the beauty and the grandeur of that scene 
and transfixed by the realization that he had dared 
to venture to find a way through this vast, wild, and 
upflung fastness. He kept looking afar, sweeping 
the three-quartered circle of horizon till his judg- 
ment of distance was confoimded and his sense of 
proportion dwarfed one moment and magnified the 
next. Then he withdrew his fascinated gaze to 
adopt the Indian's method of studying unlimited 
spaces in the desert — ^to look with slow, contracted 
eyes from near to far. 

His companions had begun to zigzag down a Icmg 
dope, bare of rock, with yellow gravel patches show- 
ing between the scant strips of green, and here and 
there a scrub-cedar. Half a mile down, the slope 
merged into green level. But close, keen gaze made 
out this level to be a rolling plain, growing darker 
green, with blue lines of ravines, and thin, imdefined 
spaces that mig^t be mirage. Miles and miles it 
swept and rolled and heaved to lose its waves in 
apparent darker level. A round, red rock stood 
isolated, marking the end of the barren plain, and 
farther on were other rcnind rocks, all isolated, all of 
different shape. They resembled huge grazing cat- 
tle. But as Shefford gazed, and his sight gained 
308 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

strength from steadily holding it to separate features, 
these rocks were strangely magnified. They grew 
and grew into moimds, castles, domes, crags — great, 
red, wind-carved buttes. One by one they drew his 
gaze to the wall of upflung rock. He seemed to see a 
thousand domes of a thotissmd shapes and colors, and 
among them a thousand blue clefts, each one a little 
mark in his sight, yet which he knew was a cafLon. 
So far he gained some idea of what he saw. But 
beyond this wide area of curved lines rose another 
wall, dwarfing the lower, dark red, horizon-long, 
ma^iificent in frowning boldness, and because of its 
limitless deceiving surfaces, breaks, and lines, in- 
comprdiensible to the sight of man. Away to the 
eastward began a winding, ra£^;ed, blue line, looping 
back upon itsdf, and then winding away again, 
growing wider and bluer. This line was the San Juan 
Canon. Where was Joe Lake at that moment? 
Had he embarked yet on the river— did that blue 
line, so faint, so deceiving, hold him and the boat? 
Almost it was impossible to believe. Shefford fol- 
lowed the blue line all its length, a hundred miles, 
he fancied, down toward the west where it joined 
a dark, purple, shadowy cleft. And this was the 
Grand Cafion of the Colorado. Shefford's eye 
swept along with that winding mark, farther and 
farther to the west, round to the left, until the cleft, 
growing larger and coming closer, losing its dec^- 
tion, was seen to be a wild and winding canon. 
Still farUier to the left, as he swung in fascinated 
gaze, it split the wonderful wall — a vast plateau 
now with great red peaks and yellow mesas. The 
cafion was ftdl c£ purple smoke. It turned, it 
309 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

dosed, it gaped, it lost itself and showed again in 
that chaos of a million cliffs. And then farther on 
it became again a cleft, a purple line, at last to 
fail entirely in deceiving distance. 

Shefford imagined there was no scene in all the 
world to equal that. The tranquillity of lesser q)aces 
was not here manifest. Sound, movement, life, 
seemed to have no fitness here. Ruin was there and 
desolation and decay. The meaning of the ages 
was flung at him, and a na ^i became nothing. 
When he had gazed at the San Juan Canon he had 
been appalled at the nature of Joe Lake's Herculean 
task. He had lost hope, faith. The thing was not 
possible. But when ShefEord gazed at that sub- 
lime and majestic wilderness, in which the Grand 
Cafion was only a dim line, he strangely lost his 
terror and something dse came to him from across 
the shining spaces. If Nas Ta B^a led them 
safely down to the river, if Joe Lake met them at 
the mouth of Nonnezoshe Boco, if they survived 
the rapids of that terrible gorge, then Shefford would 
have to face his soul and the meaning d this spirit 
that breathed on the wind. 

He urged his mustang to the descent of the slope, 
and as he went down, slowly drawing nearer to the 
other fi^tives, his mind alternated between this 
strange intimation of faith, this subtle uplift of his 
spirit, and the growing gloom and shadow in his 
love for Fay Larkin. Not that he loved her less, 
but more! A possible God hovering near him, like 
thie Indian's spirit-step on the trail, made his soul 
the darter for Fay's crime, and he saw with dearer 
sight, with deq}er sadness, with sterner truth. 
310 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

More than once the India n turned on his mustang 
to look up the slope and the U^t flashed from his 
dark, somber face. ShefEord instinctively looked 
back himself, and then realized the unconscious 
motive of the action. Deep within him there had 
been a premonition of certain ptirsuit, and the 
Indian's reiterated backward glance had at length 
brought the feeling upward. Thereafter, as they 
descended, Shefford gradually added to his already 
wrought emotions a mounting anxiety. 

No sign of a trail showed where the base of the 
slope rolled out to meet the green plain. Tlie earth 
was gravelly, with dark patches of heavy silt, almost 
like cinders; and round, black rocks, flinty and 
glassy, cracked away from the hoofs of the mustangs. 
There was a level bench a mile wide, then a ravine, 
and tiien an ascent, and after that, roimded ridge 
and ravine, cme after the other, like huge swells c^ a 
monstrous sea. Indian paint-brush vied in its 
scarlet hue with the deep magenta of cactus. There 
was no sage. Soapweed and meager grass and a 
bunch of cactus here and there lent the green to that 
barren; and it was green only at a distance. Nas 
Ta Bega kept on a steady, even trot. The sun 
climbed. The wind rose and whipped dust from 
under the mustangs. 

Shefford looked back often, and the farther out 
in the plain, he reached the higher loomed the 
plateau they had descended; and as he faced ahead 
again the lower sank the red-domed and castled 
horizon to the fore. The ravines became deeper, 
with dry rock bottoms, and the ridge-tops sharp- 
er, with outcrpppings of yellow, crumbling ledges. 



X.oo^k 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Once across the central depression of that wide 
plain a gradual ascent became evident, and the red, 
Tound rocks grew clearer m sight, began to rise and 
shine and grow. And thereafter every slope brought 
them nearer. 

The sun was straight overhead and hot when Nas 
Ta Bega halted the party under the first lonely scrub- 
cedar. They all dismounted to stretch thdr lirnl^ 
and rest the horses. It was not a talkative group. 
Lassiter's comments on the never-ending green plain 
elicited no response. Jane Withersteen looked afar 
with the past in her eyes. Shefford felt Fay's wist- 
ful glance and could not meet it; indeed, he seemed 
to want to hide something from her. The Indian 
bent a falcon gaze on the distant slope, and SheSord 
did not like that intent, searching, steadfast watch- 
fulness. Suddenly Nas Ta Bega stiffened and 
whipped the halter he held. 

"Ugh!" he exclaimed. 

All eyes followed the direction of his dark hand. 
Puffs of dust rose from the base of the loi^ slope th^ 
had descended; tiny dark specks moved with the 
pace of a snail. 

"Shadd!" added the Indian. 

"I expected it," said SheffOTd, darkly, as he yose. 

"An' who's Shadd?" drawled Lassiter in his cool, 
slow speech. 

Briefly SheSord ^:plained, and then, looking at 
Nas Ta Bega, he added: 

"The hardest-riding outfit in the country I We 
can't get away from them." 

Jane Withersteen was silent, but Fay uttered a 
low cry. SheSord did not lode at eitl^ of them. 
313 



X.oogk 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

The Indian began swiftly to tighten the saddle- 
cinches of his roan, and SheflEord did likewise for 
Nack-yal. Then Shefford drew his rifle out of the 
saddle-sheath and Joe Lake's big guns from the 
saddle-bag. 

"Here, Lassiter, maybe you haven't forgotten how 
to use these," he said. 

The old gun-man started as if he had seen ghosts. 
His hands grew clawlike as he reached for the guns. 
He threw open the cylinders, spilled out the shells, 
snapped back the cylinders. Then he went throu^ 
motions too swift for Shefford to follow. But Shef- 
ford heard the hammers falling so swiftly they 
blended th^ clicks almost in one sound. Lassiter 
reloaded the guns with a speed comparable with the 
other actions. A remarkable transformation had 
come over him. He did not seem the same man. 
The mild eyes had changed; the long, shadowy, 
sloping lines were tense cOTds; and there was a cold, 
ashy shade on his face. 

"Twelve years!" he muttered to himself. "I 
dropped them old guns back there where I rolled the 
rock. . . . Twelve years!" 

Shefford realized the twelve years were as if they 
had never been. And he would rather have had 
this old gun-man with him than a dozen ordinary 
men. 

The Indian spoke rapidly in Navajo, saying that 
once in the rocks they were safe, "rhen, after an- 
otha: look at the distant dust-puffs, he wheeled his 
mustang. 

It was doubtful if tb& party could have kept near 

him had they been responsible for the gait of their 

313 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

mounts. The fact was that the way the Indian 
called to his mustang or some leadership in the one 
he rode drew the others to a like trot or climb or 
canter. For a long time SheflEord did not turn 
roimd; he knew what to expect. And when he did 
turn he was startled at the gain made by the pur- 
suers. But he was encouraged as well by the loom- 
ing, red, rounded peaks seemingly now so close. 
He could see the dark splits between the sloping 
curved walls, the pifion patches in the amphi- 
theater under the circled walls. That was a wild 
place they were approaching, and, once in there, he 
believed pursuit would be useless. However, there 
were miles to go still, and those hard-riding devils 
behind made alarming decrease in the intervening 
distance. ShefEord could see the horses plainly now. 
How they made the dust fly I He counted up to 
six — and then the dust and moving line caused the 
others to be indistinguishable. 

At last only a long, gently rising slope separated 
the fugitives from that labjninthine network of 
wildly carved rock. But it was the clear air that 
made the distance seem short. Mile after mile the 
mustangs climbed, and when they were perhaps 
half-way across that last slope to the rocks the first 
horse of the pursuers mounted to the level behind. 
In a few moments the whole band was strung out in 
sight. Nas Ta Bega kept his mustang at a steady 
walk, in spite of the gaining pursuers. There came 
a point, however, when the Indian, reaching com- 
paratively levd ground, put his moimt to a swinging 
canter. The other mustangs brdce into the same 
gait. 

314 

DigilicibfGoO^lc 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

It became a race then, with the couple of miles 
between fugitives and pursuers only imperceptibly 
lessened. Nas Ta Bega had saved his mustangs 
and Shadd had ridden his to the limit. Shefford 
kept looking back, gripping his rifle, hoping it would 
not come to a fight, yet slowly losing that reluctance. 

Sage began to show on the slope, and other kinds 
of brush and cedars straggled everywhere. The 
great rocks loomed closer, the red color mixed with 
yellow, and the slopes lengUiening out, not so steep, 
yet infinitely longer than they had seemed at a 
distance. 

Shefford ceased to feel the dry wind in his face. 
They were alreiidy in the lee erf the wall. He 
could see the rock-squirrels scampering to their 
holes. Tlie mustangs valiantly held to the gait, 
»id at last the Indian disappeared between two 
rounded comers of cliflE. The others were close 
behind. Shefford wheeled once more. Shadd and 
his gang were a mile in the rear, but coming fast, 
de^te winded horses. 

Shefford rode around the wall into a widening 
space thick with cedars. It ended in a bare slope of 
smooth rock. Here the Indian dismounted. When 
the others came up with him he told them to lead 
their horses and follow. Then he began the ascent of 
the rock. 

It was smooth and hard, though not sHppery. 
There was not a cradc SheflEord did not see a 
broken jaece of stone. Nas Ta Bega climbed 
straight up for a while, and then wound around a 
sweU, to turn this way and that, always going i^. 
SheSord began to see similar mounds of rock all 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

around him, of every shape that could be called a 
curve. Thra« were yellow domes far above, and 
small red domes far below. Ridges ran frc»n one 
hill of rock to another. There were no abrupt 
breaks, but holes and pits and caves were every- 
where, and occasionally, deep down, an ampH- 
theater green with cedar and pifton. The Indian 
appeared to have a clear idea of where he wanted to 
go, though there was no vestige of a trail on those 
bare slopes. At length Shefford was high enoi^h 
to see back upon the plain, but the pursuers were 
no longer in si^t. 

Nas Ta Bega led to the top of that wall, only to 
disclose to his followers another and a higher wall 
beyond, with a ridged, bare, wild, and scalloped 
depression between. Here footing began to be 
precarious for both man and beast. When the 
ascent of the second wall began it was necessary 
to zigzag up, slowly and carefully, taking advantage 
of every level bulge or depression. They must have 
consumed half an hour mounting this slope to the 
summit. Once there, Shefford drew a sbaip breath 
with both backward and icfnvaxd glances. Shadd 
and his gang, in single file, showed dark upon the 
bare stone' ridge behind. And to the fore there 
twisted and dropped and curved the most dangerous 
slopes Shefford had ev^ seen. The fugitives had 
reached the height c^ stone wall, of the divide, and 
many of the drops upon this side were perpendicular 
and too steep to see the bottom. 

Nas Ta B^a led along the ridge-top and then 
started down, following the waves in the rock. He 
came out upon a round promontory from which 
316 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

there could not have been any turning of a horse. 
The long slant leading down was at an angle Shef- 
ford declared impossible for the animals. Yet the 
Indian started down. His mustang needed urging, 
but at last edged upon tiie steep descent. Shefiord 
and the others had to hold back and wait. It was 
thrilling to see the intelligent mustang. He did not 
step. He slid his fore hoofs a few inches at a time 
and kept directly behind the Indian. If he fdl he 
would knock Nas Ta B^a oS his feet and they 
would both roll down together. There was no 
doubt in SheSord's mind that the mustang knew 
this as well as the Indian. Foot by foot they worked 
down to a swelling bulge, and here Nas Ta Bega left 
his mustang and came back for the pack-horse. It 
was even more difficult to get this beast down. 
Then the Indian called for Lassiter and Jane and 
Fay to come down. She£Eord began to keep a sharp 
lookout behind and above, and did not see how the 
tiiree fared cm the sli^>e, but evidently there was no 
mishap. Nas Ta Bega mounted the slope again, 
and at the moment dght of Shadd's dark bays 
^Ihouetted against the sky caused SheSord to call 
out: 

"We've got to hurry!" 

The Indian led one mustang and called to the 
others. Shefford stepped close behind. They went 
down in single file, inch by inch, foot by foot, and 
safely reached the comparative level below. 

"Shadd's gang are riding their horses up and down 
these walls!" exclaimed ShefiEord. 

"Shore," replied Lassiter. 

Both the women were silent. 
317 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Nas Ta Bega led the way swiftly to the right. 
He rounded a huge dame, climbed a low, rolling 
ridge, descended and ascended, and came out upon 
the rim of a steep-walled amphitheater. Along Hie 
rim was a yard-wide level, with the diasm to the left 
and steep sl<q>e to the right. There was no time to 
flincdi at the danger, when an even greater danger 
menaced from the rear. Nas Ta Bega led, and h;s 
mustang kept at his heels. One misstep would have 
plunged the animal to his death. But he was sure- 
footed and his confidence helped the others. At the 
apex of the curve the only coiu-se led away from the 
rim, and here there was no level. Pour of the mus- 
tangs slipped and slid down the smooth rock until 
they stopped in a shallow depression. It cost time 
to get them out, to straighten pack and saddles. 
Shefford thought he heard a yell in the rear, but he 
coidd not see anything of the gang. 

They rounded this precipice only to face a worse 
one. SheflEord's nerve was sorely taied wh«i he saw 
steep slants everywhere, all apparently leading down 
into chasms, and no place a man, let alone a horse, 
could put a foot with safety. Nevertheless the im- 
perturbable Indian never sladced his pace. Always 
he appeared to find a way, and he never had to turn 
bade. His windii^ course, however, did not now 
cover much distance in a straight line, and herein 
lay the greatest peril. Any m(mient Shadd and h^ 
men might come within range. 

Upon a particularly tedious and dangerous ade of 
rocky hill the fugitives lost so mudi time that 
ShefEord grew exceedingly alarmed. Still, they ac- 
complished it without accident, and their pursuers 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

did not heave in sight. Perhaps they were having 
trouble in a bad place. 

The afternoon was waning. The red sun hung low 
above the yellow mesa to the left, and there was a 
perceptible shading of light. 

At last Nas Ta Bega came to a place that halted 
him. It did not look so bad as places they had 
successfully passed. Yet upon closer study SheScnd 
did not see how they were to get around the neck 
of the gully at their feet. Presently the Indian put 
the bridle over the head of his mustai^ and left him 
free. He did likewise for two more mustangs, while 
Lassiter and Shefford rendered a like service to theirs. 
Then the Indian started down, with his mustang 
following him. The pack-animal came next, then 
Fay and Nack-yal, then Lassiter and his mount, 
with Jane and hers next, and ShefEord last. They 
followed the Indian, picking their steps swiftly, 
looking nowhere except at the stone under their feet. 
The right side of the chasm was rimmed, the curve 
at the head crossed, and then the real peril of this 
trap had to be faced. It was a narrow slant of 
ledge, doubling back parallel with the course already 
traversed. 

A sharp warning cry from Nas Ta Bega scarcely 
prepared SheffcHxi for hoarse yells, and then a rattlii^ 
rifle-volley from the top of lie slope opposite. Bid- 
lets thudded on the cliff, whipped up red dust, and 
spanged and droned away. 

Pay Larkin screamed and sta^ered back ^lalnst 

the wall. Nack-yal was hit, and with frightened 

snort he reared, pawed the air, and came down, 

potmding the stone. Tlie mustang behind him 

319 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

went to his knees, sank with his head over the rim, 
and, slipping off, plunged into the depths. In an 
instant a dull crash came up. 

For a moment there was imminent peril for the 
horses, more in the yawning hole than in the flang- 
ing of badly aimed bijlets. Lassiter drew Jane up a 
little slope out of the way of the fright^ied mustangs, 
and Shefford, risking his neck, rushed to Fay. She 
was holding her arm, which was bleedit^. Unheed- 
ing the rain c^ bullets, he half carried, half dragged 
her along the slope of the low bluff, where he hid 
behind a comer till the Indian drove the miistangs 
round it. Shefford's swift fingers were wet and red 
with the blood from Pay's arm when he had bound 
the wound with his scarf. Lassiter had gotten 
arotmd with Jane and was calling Shefford to 
hurry. 

It had been Shefford's idea to halt there and 
fight. But he did not want to send Fay cai alone, 
so he hurried ahead with her. The Indian had tiie 
horses going fast on a long level, overhung by bulg- 
ing wall. I^assiter and Jane were looldng back. 
Shefford, becoming aware of a steep slope to his left, 
looked down to see a narrow chasm and great 
crevices in the cliffs, with bunches of cedars here and 
there. 

Presently Nas Ta Bega disappeared with the mus- 
tang. He had evidently turned crfE to go down 
behind the split cliffs. Shefford and Pay caught up 
with Lassiter and Jane, and, panting, hurrying, look- 
ing backward and then forward, they kept on, as best 
they could, in the Indian's course. Sh^ord made 
sure they had lost him, when he appeared down to 

330 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

the left. Then they all ran to catch up with him. 
They went around the chasm, and then through one 
of tile narrow cracks to come out upon the rim, 
among cedars. Here the Indian waited fcM* them. 
He pointed down another long swell of naked stone 
to a narrow green split which was evidently different 
from all these curved pits and holes and abysses, for 
this one had straight walls and wound away out of 
sight. It was the head of a canon. 

"Nonnezoshe Boco!" said the Indian. 

" Nas Ta Bega, go on!" replied Shefford. "When 
Shadd comes out on that slope above he can't see 
you — ^where you go down. Huny on with the 
horses and women. Lassiter, you go with them. 
And if Shadd passes me and comes up with you — do 
your best. . . . I'm going to ambush tiiat Piute and 
his gang!" 

"Shore you've picked out a good place," replied 
Lassiter. 

In another moment Shefford was alone. He heard 
the light, soft pat and slide of the hoofs of the mus- 
tai^ as they went down. Presently Hiat sound 



He looked at the red stain on his hands — ^from the 
blood of the girl he loved. And he had to stifle a 
terrible wrath that shook his frame. In r^ard to 
Shadd's pursuit, it had not been blood that he had 
feared, but capture for Fay. He and Nas Ta Bega 
might have expected a shot if they resisted, but to 
wound that unfortunate girl — it made a t^er out of 
htm. When he had stilled the emotions that 
weakened and shook him and reached cold and 
implacable control of himself, he crawled under the 

331 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

cedars to the rim and, well hidden, he watched and 
waited. 

Shadd appeared to be slow for the first time since 
he had been sighted. With keen eyes Shefford 
watched the comer where he and the others had 
escaped from that murderous volley. But Shadd 
did not come. 

Ite Sim had lost its warmth and was tipiang the 
lofty mesa to his right. Soon twilight would make 
travel on those walls more perilous and darkness 
would make it impossible. Shadd must hurry or 
abandon the pursuit for 1^t day. Shefford found 
himself grimly hopeful. 

Suddenly he heard the dick of hoofs. It came, 
faint yet clear, on the still air. He ^ued his sight 
upon that ctnuer where he expected the pursuers to 
appear. More cracks of hoofs pierced his ear, 
clearer and sharper this time. Presently he gathered 
that they could not possibly come from beyond the 
comer he was watching. So he looked far to the 
left of that place, seeing no one, then far to the 
right. Out over a. bulge of stone he caught sight of 
the bobbing head of a horse — then another — and still 
another. 

He was astounded. Shadd had gone below that 
place where the attack had been made and he had 
come up diis steep slope. More horses appeared — 
to the nimiber of eight. Shefford easily recognized 
a low, broad, squat rider to be Shadd. Assuredly 
the Piute did not know this country, ifossibly, 
however, he had feared an ambush. But Shefford 
grew convinced that Shadd had not expected an 
ambush, or at least did not fear it, and had mis- 

323 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

taken the Indian's course. Moreover, if he led his 
gang a few rods farther up that slope he would do 
worse than make a mistake — he would be facing a 
double peril. 

What fearless horsemen these Indians were! 
Shadd was mounted, as were three others of his 
gang. Evidently the white men, the outlaws, were 
the ones on foot. Shefford thrilled and his veins 
stung when he saw these pursuers come passing 
what he considered the dai^er mark. But mani- 
festly they could not see their danger. Assuredly 
they were aware of the chasm; however, the level 
upon which they were advancing narrowed gradu- 
ally, and they could not tell that very soon they 
could not go any farther nor could they turn back. 
The alternative was to climb the slope, and that 
was a desperate chance. 

They came up, now about on a levd with Shefford, 
and perhaps three himdred yards distant. He 
gripped his rifle with a fatal asstu'ance that he could 
kill one of them now. Still he waited. Curiosity 
consumed him because every foot they advanced 
heightened their peril. Shefford wondered if Shadd 
would have chosen that coiu-se if he had not sup- 
posed the Navajo had chosen it first. It was plain 
that one of the walking Piutes stooped now and 
then to examine the rock. He was looking for some 
faint sign of a horse track. 

Shadd halted within two hundred yards of where 
Shefford lay hidden. His keen eye had caught the 
significance of the narrowing level before he had 
reached the end. He pointed and spoke. Shefford 
heard his voice. The others repUed. They all 
3^3 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

todced up at the steep slc^ie, down into the cdiasm 
right below them, and across into the cedars. Tlie 
Piute in the rear succeeded in turning his horse, 
went back, and b^^ to circle up the slope. The 
others entered into an argument and they became 
more closely grouped upon the narrow bench. Their 
mustangs were lean, wiry, wild, vicious, and Shef- 
ford calculated grimly upon what a stampede might 
mean in that position. 

Then Shadd turned his mustang up the slope. 
I^e a goat he climbed. Another Indian in the rear 
succeeded in pivoting his steed and started back, 
apparently to circle round and up. The others of the 
gang appeared uncertain. Th^ yelled hoarsely at 
Shadd, who halted on the steep slant some twenty 
paces above them. He spoke and made motions that 
evidently meant the climb was easy enough. It 
looked easy for him. His dark face flashed red in 
the rays of the sun. 

At this critical moment Shefford decided to fire. 
He meant to kill Shadd, hoping if the leader 
was gone the others would abandon the pursuit. 
The rifle wavered a little as be aimed, then grew 
still. He fired. Shadd never flinched. But the 
fiery mustang, perhaps wounded, certainly terrified, 
plunged down with piercing, horrid scream. Shadd 
fell under him. Shrill yells rent the air. Like a 
thunderbolt the shdtng horse was upon men and 
animals below. 

A heavy shock, wild snorts, upflinging heads and 
hoofs, a terrible tramping, thudding, shrieking m£l€e, 
then a brown, twisting, tangled mass shot down the 
slant over the riml 

334 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



' THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

ShefiEord dazedly thot^t he saw men nitmmg. 
He did see pltu^ing horses. One slipped, fell, rolled, 
and went into the chasm. 

Then up from the depths came a crash, a long, 
slipping roar. In another instant thoe was a 
lights crash and a lighter slidi:^ roar. 

Two horses, shaking, paralyzed with fear, were 
left upon the narrow level. Beyond them a couple 
ot men were crawling along the stcme. Up on the 
level stood the two Indians, holding down frightened 
horses, and staring at the fatal slope. 

And ShefEord lay there imder the cedar, in the 
ghastly grip of the moment, hardly comprehending 
that his ill-aimed shot had been a thunderbolt. 

He did not think of shooting at the Piutes; they, 
however, recovering from thdr shock, evidently 
feared the ambush, for they swiftly drew up the 
slope and passed out of sight. The frightened horses 
bdow whistled and tramped along the lower level, 
finally vanishing. There was nothing left on the 
bare wall to prove to SheSord that it had been the 
scene of swift and tragic death. He leaned from 
his covert and peered over the rim. Hundreds of 
feet below he saw dark growths of piiions. There 
was no sign of a pile of horses and men, and then he 
realized that he could not tell the number that had 
perished. The swift finale had been as stunning to 
him as if lightning had struck near him. 

Suddenly it flashed over him what state of sus- 
pense and torture Fay and Jane must be in at that 
very moment. And, leaping up, he ran out of the 
cedars to the slope behind and hurried down at 
risk of limb. The sun had set by this time. He 
32s 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

hoped he could catch up with the party before daric. 
He went strai^t down, and the end of the slope was 
a smooth, low wall. The Indian must have de- 
scended with the hoises at scxae other point. The- 
cadon was about fifty yards wide and it headed 
under the great slope of Navajo Mountain. These 
smooth, rounded walla appeared to end at its low 
rim. 

Shefford slid down upcm a grassy bank, and finding 
the tracks of the horses, he fdlowed them. They led 
alcsig the wall. As soon as he had assured himself 
that Nas Ta Bega had gone down the canon he 
abandcmed the tracks and pushed ahead swiftly. 
He heard the soft rush ci running water. In the 
center of the caSon wound heavy lines of bright- 
green foliage, bordering a rocky brook. The air 
was close, warm, and sweet with perfume of flowers. 
The walls were low and shelving, and soon lost that 
rounded appearance peculiar to the wind-worn 
slopes above. SheSord came to where the horses 
had plowed down a gravelly bank into the dear, 
swift water of the brocdc The little pools of water 
were still muddy. SheSord drank, finding the water 
cold and sweet, without the bitter bite of alkali. 
He crossed and pushed on, lunning cm the grassy 
levels. Flowers were everywhere, but he did not 
notice them particularly. The cafion made many 
Idsurety turns, and its dze, if it enlarged at all, was 
not perceptible to him yet. The rims above him 
were perhaps fifty feet high. Cotttmwood-trees 
b^an to appear along the brook, and blossoming 
buck-brush in the comers of wall. 

He had traveled perhaps a mile when Nas Ta B^a, 
326 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

appeariag to ccmie out of the thicket, confronted 
hir". 

"Hello!" called Sheffrnxl. "Where're Pay— and 
the others?" 

The Indian made a gesture that signified the rest 
of the party were beyond a little way. Shefford 
took Nas Ta Bega's aim, and as they walked, and 
he panted for breath, he told what had happened 
back on the slopes. 

The Indian made cme of his singular speaking 
sweeps of hand, and he scrutinized Shefford's face, 
but he received the news in silence. They turned a 
comer of wall, crossed a wide, shallow, boulder- 
strewn place in the brook, and mounted the bank to a 
thicket. Beyond this, from a clump of cottonwoods, 
Lasater strode out with a gun in each hand. He 
had been hidii^. 

"Shore I'm glad to see you," he said, and the eyes 
that piercingly fixed on Sh^ord were now as keen as 
formerly they had been mild. 

"Gone! Lassiter — ^they're gone," broke out Shef- 
ford. "Where's Fay — and Jane?" 

Lassiter called, and presently the women came out 
of the thick brake, arwl Fay bounded forward with 
her swift stride, while Jane followed with eager 
step and anxious face. Then they all surrounded 
Shefford. 

"It was Shadd — and his gang," panted Shefford. 
"Eight in all. Three or four Piutes — the others 
outlaws. They lost track of ns. Went below the 
place — ^where tii^ shot at us. And they came up — 
on a bad sli^>e." 

Shefford described the slope and the deep chasm 

22 3*7 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

^d how Shadd led up to the point where he saw his 
mist£ike and then how the catastrophe fell. 

"I shot — and missed," repeated Shefford, with the 
sweat in beads on his pale face. "I missed Shadd. 
Maybe I hit the horse. He plunged — reared — ^fell 
back — a terrible fall — right upon that bunch of 
horses and men below. ... In a horrible, wrestiing, 
screaming tangle they sUd over the rim! I don't 
know how many. I saw some men running along. 
I saw three other horses plimging. One sUpped and 
went over. ... I have no idea how many, but Shadd 
and some of his gang went to destruction." 

"Shore thet's fine!" said Lassiter. "But mebbe 
I won't get to use them guns, after all," 

"Hardly on that gang," laughed Shefford. "The 
two Piutes and what others escaped turned back. 
Maybe they'll meet a posse of Mormons — ^for of 
course the Mormons will track us, too — and come 
back to where Shadd lost his life. TTiat's an awful 
place. Even the Piute got lost — couldn't follow 
Nas Ta Bega. It would take any pursuers some 
time to find how we got in here. I believe we need 
not fear further pursuit. Certainly not to-night cm* 
to-morrow. Then we'll be far down the canon." 

When SheffcM-d concluded his earnest remarks the 
faces of Pay and Jane had lost the signs of suppressed 
dread. 

"Nas Ta Bega, make camp here," said Sh^ord. 
"Water — wood — grass — ^why, this 's something Eke. 
. . . Fay, how's your arm?" 

"It hurts," she repUed, simply. 

"Come with me down to the brook and let me 
wash and bind it properly." 

DiglidbyGoO^lc 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

They went, and she sat upon a stone while he knelt 
beside her and tmtied his scarf from her arm. As 
the blood had hardened, it was necessary to slit her 
sleeve to the shoulder. Using his scarf, he washed 
the blood from the wound, and found it to be 
merely a cut, a groove, on the surface. 

"That's nothing," Shefford said, hghtly. "It '11 
heal in a day. But there'll always be a scar. And 
when we — we get back to civilization, and you wear 
a pretty gown without sleeves, people will wonder 
what made this mark on your beautiful arm." 

Fay looked at him with wonderful eyes. "Do 
women wear gowns without sleeves?" she asked. 

"They do." 

"Have I a — beautiful ama?" 

She stretched it out, white, blue-veined, the skin 
fine as satin, the lines graceful and flowing, a round, 
firm, strong arm. 

"The most beautiful I ever saw," he repUed. 

But the pleasure his compliment gave her was not 
communicated to him. His last impression of that 
right arm had been of its strength, and his nund 
flashed with li^tning swiftness to a picture that 
haimted him — Waggoner lying dead on the porch 
with that powerfully driven knife in his breast. 
Shefford shuddered through all his being. Woiald 
this phantom come often to him like that? Hur- 
riedly he bound up her arm with the scarf and did 
not look at her, and was conscious that she felt a 
subtle change in him. 

The short twilight ended with the fugitives com- 
fortable in a camp that for natural features could 
not have been improved upon. Darkness found Fay 
329 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

and Jane asleep on a soft mossy bed, a blanket 
tucked around them, and their faces still and beauti- 
ful in the flickering camp-fire light. Lassit«- did 
not linger long awake. Nas Ta Bega, seeing Shef- 
ford's excessive fatigue, urged him to sleep. Shefford 
demurred, insisting that he share the night-watch. 
But Nas Ta Bega, by agreeing that Shefford might 
have the following night's duty, prevailed upon him. 

Shefford seemed to shut his eyes upon darkness 
and to open them immediately to the Ught. The 
stream of blue sky above, the gold tints on the 
western rim, the rosy, brightening coIots down in 
the cafion, were proofs of the sunrise. Tliis morning 
Nas Ta Bega proceeded leisurely, and his manner 
was comforting. When all was in readiness for a 
start he gave the mustang he had ridden to Shefford, 
and walked, leading the padc-animal. 

Tlie mode of travel here was a selection of the best 
levels, the best places to cross the brook, the best 
banks to climb, and it was a process of c(mtiniial 
repetition. As' the Indian pidced out the course 
and the mtistangs followed his lead there was nothing 
for Sheffcffd to do but take his choice between re- 
flection that seemed predisposed toward ghxMn and 
an absorption in the beauty, color, wildness, and 
changing character of Nonnezoshe Boco. 

Assuredly his experience in the desert did not 
count in it a trip down into a strange, beautiful, lost 
canon such as this. It did not widen, though the 
walls grew higher. They began to lean and bulge, 
and the narrow strip of sky above resembled a flow- 
ing blue river. Huge caverns had been hollowed 
out by some work of nature, what, he could not tell, 
330 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

though he was sure it could not have been wind. 
And when the brocA: ran close unda- one of these 
overhauling places the running water made a 
singular, indescribable sound. A crack £rom a hoof 
on a stcme rang like a hollow bell and echoed iiom 
wall to wall. And the croak of a frog — ^the only 
living creature he had so far noted in the canon — 
was a weird and melancholy thing. 

Fay rode close to him, and his heart >seemed to 
rejoice when she spolK, when she showed how she 
wanted to be near him, yet, try as he might, he 
could not respond. His speech to her — what little 
there was — did not come spontaneously. And he 
suffered a remorse that he could not be honestly 
natural to her. Then he would drive away the en- 
croaching gloom, trusting that a Uttle time would 
dispel it. 

"We are deeper down than Surprise Valley," said 
Fay. 

"How do you know?" he asked. 

"Here are the pink and ydlow sago-lilies. You 
remember we went cmoe to find the white ernes? 
I have found white liHes in Surprise Valley, but 
never any pink or yellow." 

Sh^ord had seen flowers all along the green 
banks, but he had not marked the lilies. Here he 
dismounted and gathered several. They were larger 
than the white ones of higher altitudes, of the same 
exquisite beauty and fragihty, of such rare pink 
and yellow hues as he had never seen. He gave the 
flowers to Fay. 

"They bloom only where it's always summer," 
she said. 

331 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

That expressed their nature. They were the 
orchids -of the summer canons. They stood xtp 
everywhere starlike out of the green. It was im- 
possible to prevent the mustangs treading them 
iinder hoof. And as the canon deepened, and many 
little springs added their tiny volume to the brook, 
every grassy bench was dotted with lilies, like a 
green sky star-spangled. And this increasing luxu- 
riance manifested itself in the banks of purple moss 
and clumps c^ lavender daisies and great clusters of 
yellow violets. The brook was lined by blossoming 
buck-rush; the rocky comers showed the crimson 
and magenta of cactus; ledges were green with 
shining moss that sparkled wilii little white flowers. 
The hum of bees filled the air. 

But by and by this green and colorful and verdant 
beauty, the almost level floor of the canon, the banks 
of soft earth, the thickets and the clumps of cotton- 
woods,, the shelving caverns and the bulging walls — 
these features gradually were lost, and Nonnezoshe 
Boco began to deepen in bare red and white stone 
steps, the walls sheered away from one another, 
breaking into sections and ledges, and rising hi^er 
and higher, and there began to be manifested a dark 
and solemn concordance with the nature that had 
created this rent in the earth. 

There was a stretch of miles where steep steps in 
hard red rock alternated with long levels of round 
boulders. Here one by one the mustangs went 
lame. And the fugitives, dismounting to spare the 
faithful beasts, slipped and stumbled over these 
loose and treacherous stones. Fay was the only one 
who did not show distress. She was glad to be on 
33a 



THE TRAIL TO NONNEZOSHE 

foot ^ain and the rolling boulders were as stable 
as solid rock for her. 

The hours passed ; the toil increased ; the progress 
diminished ; one of the mustangs failed entirely and 
was left; and all the while the dimensions of Non- 
ne^oshe Boco magnified and its character changed. 
It became a thousand-foot walled canon, leaning, 
broken, threatening, with great yellow slides block- 
ing passage, with huge sections split off from the 
main wall, with immense dark and glocany caverns. 
Strangely,' it had no intersecting cations. It jealously 
guarded its secret. Its unusual formations of cavern 
and pillar and half -arch led the mind to expect any 
monstrous stone-shape left by an avalaiiche or 
cataclysm. 

Down and down the fugitives toiled. And now 
the stream-bed was bare of boulders, and the banks 
of earth. The floods that had rolled down that 
caAon had here borne away every loose thing. All 
the floor was bare red and white stone, polished, 
glistening, slippery, affording treacherous foothold. 
And the time came when Nas Ta Bega abandoned 
the stream-bed to take to the rock-strewn and cactus- 
covered ledges above. 

Jane gave out and had to be assisted upon the 
weary mustang. Fay was persuaded to mount 
Nack-yal again. Lassiter plodded along. The In- 
dian bent tired steps far in front. And Shefford 
traveled on after him, footsore and hot. 

The canon widened ahead into a great, ra^ed, 

iron-hued amphitheater, and &om there apparently 

turned abruptly at right aisles. Sunset rimmed the 

walls, SheSoni wondered dully when the Indian 

333 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

would halt to camp. And he dragged himself on- 
ward with eyes down on the nx^ ground. 

When he raised them again the Indian stood on a 
point of slope with f(dded arms, gamig down where 
the cadon veered. Somethiag in Nas Ta Bega's pose 
quickened Sh^ord's pulse and then his steps. He 
reached the Indian and the pcunt where he, too, 
could see beyond that vast jutting wall that had 
obstructed h^ view. 

A mile bejrond all was bright with the ccAcyrs of 
sunset, and spanning the canon in the graceful shape 
and beautiful hues of a rainbow was a magnificent 
stone bridge. 

"Nonnezoshe!" exclaimed the Navajo, with a 
deep and sonorous roll ta his voice. 



DiglicJbvGoO^lc 



XVIII 

AT THE FOOT OF THE RAINBOW 

THE rainbow bridge was the one great natural 
phenomenon, the cme grand spectacle, which 
Shefford had ever seen that did not at first give 
vague disappointment, a confounding of reality, a 
disenchantment of contrast with what the mind had 
conceived. 

But this thing was glorious. It silenced him, yet 
did not awe or stun. His body and brain, weary and 
dull from the toil of travel, received a singular and 
revivifying freshness. He had a strange, mystic 
perception of this roey-hued stupendous ardi of 
stone, as if in a former life it had been a goal he 
could not reach. This wonder of nature, though all- 
satisfying, all-fulfilling to his artist's soul, could not 
be a resting-place for him, a destination where some- 
thing awaited him, a height he must scale to find 
peace, the end of his strife. But it seemed all these. 
He could not understand his perception or his emo- 
tion. Still, here at last, apparently, was the rain- 
bow of his boyish dreams and of his manhood — a 
rainbow magnified even beyond those dreams, no 
longer transparent and ethereal, but solidified, a 
thing of ages, sweeping up majestically from the red 
walls, its iris-hued arch against the blue sky. 
335 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Nas Ta B^^ led on down the ledge and Shef- 
ford plodded thoughtfully aftra* him. The others 
folloired. A jutting comer of wall again hid the 
cafion. The tidian was working round to circle the 
huge amphitheater. It was slow, irritating, strenu- 
ous toil, for the way was on a steep slant, rough and 
loose and drawling. The rocks were as hard and 
jagged as lava. And the cactus further hindered 
progress. "When at last the Itmg half-circle had 
been accomplished the golden and rosy lights had 
faded. 

Again the ca£ton opened to view. All the walls 
were pale and steely and the stone bridge loomed 
dark. Nas Ta Bega said camp would be made at the 
bridge, which was now close. Just before they 
reached it the Navajo halted with one of his singular 
actions. Then he stood motionless. Shefford real- 
ized that Nas Ta Bega was saying his prayer to this 
great stone god. Presently the Indian motioned for 
SheSord to lead the others and the horses on under 
the bridge. Shefford did so, and, upon turning, was 
amazed to see the Indian climbing the steep and 
difficult slope on the other ade. All the party 
watched him until he disappeared behind the huge 
base of cliff that supported the arch. SheffOTd 
selected a level place for camp, some few rods away, 
and here, with Lassiter, imsaddled and unpacked the 
lame, drooping mustangs. When this was done twi- 
light had fallen. Nas Ta Bega appeared, coming 
down the steep slope on this side of the bridge. 
Then Shefford divined why the Navajo had made 
that arduous climb. He would not go under the 
bridge. Nonnezoshe was a Navajo god. And Nas 
336 



AT THE FOOT OF THE RAINBOW 

Ta Bega, though educated as a white man, was true 
to the superstition of his ancestors. 

Nas Ta Bega turned the mustangs loose to fare 
for what scant grass grew on bench and slope. Fire- 
wood was even harder to find than grass. When the 
camp duties had been performed and the simple 
meal eaten there was gloom gathering in the canon 
and the stars had begun to blink in the pale strip of 
blue above the lofty walls. The place was oppres- 
sive and the fugitives mostly silent. Shefford spread 
a bed of blankets for the women, and Jane at once 
lay wearily down. Fay stood beside the flickering 
fire, and Shefford felt her watching him. He was 
conscious of a desire to get away from her hatinting 
gaze. To the gentle good-night he bade her she 
made no response. 

Shefford moved away into a strange dark shadow 
cast by the bridge against the pale starlight. It was 
a weird, black belt, where he imagined he was invia- 
ble, but out of which he could see. There was a 
slab of rock near the foot of the bridge, and here 
Shefford composed himself to watch, to fed, to 
think the uiJmown thing that seemed to be in- 
evitably coming to him. 

A slight stiffening of his neck made him aware that 
he had been continually looking up at the looming 
arch. And he found that insensibly it had changed 
and grown. It had never seemed the same any two 
moments, but that was not what he meant. Near 
at hand it was too vast a thing for immediate com- 
prehension. He wanted to ponder on what had 
formed it — to reflect upon its meaning as to age 
and force of nature, yet all he could do at each 
337 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

moment was to see. White stars hung along the 
dark curved line. The rim of the arch seemed to 
shine. The moon must be up there somewhere. 
The far side of the cafLon was now a blank, black 
wall. Over its towering rim showed a pale glow. 
It brightened. The shades in the cafion lightened, 
then a white disk of moon peered over the dark line. 
The bridge turned to alver, and the gloomy, shad- 
owy belt it had cast blanched and vanished. 

ShefTord became aware of the presence of Nas 
Ta Bega. Dark, silent, statuesque, with inscrutable 
eyes uplifted, with all that was spiritual of the Indian 
suggested by a somber and tranquil knowledge of 
his place there, he represented the same to Shefford 
as a solitary figure of human life brought out the 
greatness erf a great picture. Nonnezoshe Boco 
needed life, wild life, life of its millions of years^^-and 
here stood the dark and silent Indian. 

There was a surge in SheSord's heart and in his 
mind a perception of a moment of incalculable change 
to his soul. And at that moment Fay Larkin stole 
like a phantom to his ^de and stood there with her 
uncovered head shining and her white face lovely 
in the moonlight. 

"May I stay with you — a little?" she asked, 
wistfully. "I can't sleep." 

"Surely you n:iay," he replied. "Does your arm 
hurt too badly, or are you too tired to sleep?" 

"No — it's tins place. I — I — can't tell you how I 
feeL" 

But the feeling was there in her eyes for Shefford 

to read. Had he too great an emotion — did he read 

too much — did he add from his soul? For him the 

338 



AT THE FOOT OF THE RAINBOW 

wild, starry, haimted eyes mirrored all that he had 
seen and felt under Nonnezoshe. And for herself 
they shone eloquently of (xmrage and love. 

' ' I need to t^ — and I don't know how," she said. 

He was silent, but he took her hands and drew 
her closer. 

"Why are you so — so different?" she asl^d, 
bravely. 

"DMFerent?" he echoed. 

"Yes. You are kind — you speak the same to 
me as you used to. But since we started you've 
been different, somehow." 

"Fay, think how hard and dangerous the trip's 
been! I've been worried — and sick with dread — 
with — Oh, you can't imagine the strain I'm under! 
How could I be my old self?" 

"It isn't worry I mean." 

He was too miserable to try to find out what she 
did mean; besides, he believed, if he let himself 
think about it, he would know what troubled her. 

"I — I am almost happy," she said, softly. 

"Fay! . .' . Aren't you at all afraid?" 

"No. You'll take care of me. . . . Do — do you 
love me — ^like you did before?" 

"Why, child! Of course — I love you," he replied, 
brokenly, and he drew her closer. He had never 
embraced her, never kissed her. But there was a 
whiteness about her then — a wraith — a something 
from her soul, and he could only gaze at her. 

"I love you," she whispered. "I thought I knew 
it that — that night. But I'm only finding it out 
now, . . . And somehow I had to tell you here," 

"Fay, I haven't said much to you," he said, hur- 
339 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

riedly, huskily. "I haven't had a chance. I love 
you. I — I ask you — ^wiU you be my wife?" 

"Of course," she said, simply, but the white, 
moon-blanched face colored with a dark and leaping 
blush. 

"We'll be married as soon as we get out of the 
desert," he went on. "And we'll forget — all — all 
that's happened. You're so young. You'll forget." 

"I'd forgotten alre&dy, till this difference came 
in you. And pretty soon — ^when I can say something 
more to you — I'll forget aJl except Surprise Valley — 
and my evenings in the starlight with you." 

"Say it then — quick!" 

She was leaning against him, holding his hands in 
her strong clasp, soulful, tender, almost passionate. 

"You couldn't help it. . . . I'm to blame. ... I re- 
member what I said." 

"What?" he queried in amaze. 

" ' You can kill him!' ... I said that. I made you 
kill him." 

"Kill — whom?" cried ShefEord. 

"Waggoner. I'm to blame. . . . That must be 
what's made you different. And, oh, I've wanted you 
to know it's all my fault. . . . But I wouldn't be 
sorry if you weren't, . . . I'm glad he's dead." 

"You — think — / — " Shefford's gasping whisper 
failed in the shock of the revelation that Fay be- 
lieved he had killed Waggoner. Then with the in- 
ference came the staggering truth — her guiltlessness; 
and a paralyzing joy held him stricken. 

A powerful hand fell upon Shefford's shoulder, 

startling him. Nas Ta Bega stood there, looking 

down upon him and Fay. Never had the Indian 

340 



AT THE FOOT OF THE RAINBOW 

seemed so dark, inscrutable of face. But in his 
magmficent bearing, in the spirit that SheSord 
sensed in him, there were nobility and power said 
a. strange pride. 

The Indian kept one hand on SheSord's shoulder, 
and with the other he struck himself on the breast. 
The action was that of an Indian, impressive and 
stem, significant of an Indian's prowess. 

"My God!" breathed ^afford, very low. 

"Oh, what does he mean?|' cried Pay. 
. SheSord held her with shaking hand^, trying to 
speak, to fight a way out of these stultifying ^notions. 

"Nas Ta Bega — ^you heard. She thinks — I killed 
Waggoner!" 

All about the Navajo then was dark and solemn 
disproof of her belief. He did not need to speak. 
His repetition of that savage, almost boastftd blow 
on bis breast added only to the dignity, and not to 
the denial, of a warrior. 

"Pay, he means he killed the Mormon," said 
Shefford. "He must have, for I did not I" 

"Ah!" murmured Fay, and she leaned to him with 
passionate, quivering gladness. It was the wwnan — 
the human — the soul bom in her that came upper- 
most then ; now, when there was no direct call to the 
wild and demental in her nature, she showed a heart 
above revenge, the instinct of a saving rij^t, of 
truth as SheSord knew than. He took her into his 
arms and never had he loved her so well. 

"Nas Ta Bega, you killed the Mormon," declared 

SheSord, with a vcdce that had geiined strength. No 

silent Indian suggestion of a deed would, sufSce in 

that moment. SheSord needed to hear the Navajo 

341 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

speak — ^to have Fay liear him ^}eak. "Nas Ta 
Bega, I know — I understand. But tell her. Speak 
so she will know. Tell it as a white man would I" 

"I heard her cry out," replied the Indian, in his 
slow English. "I waited. When he came I killed 
him." 

A poignant why was wrenched from SheffonJ. 
Nas Ta Bega stood silent. 

"Bi Nail" And when that sonorous Indian name 
rolled in dignity from his lips he alently stalked 
away into the ^oom. That was his answer to Uie 
white man. 

SheSord bent over Pay, and as the strain on him 
broke he hdd her closer and closer and his tears 
streamed down and his voice broke in exclamaticms 
of tenderness and thanksgiving. It did not matter 
what she had thought, but she must never know 
what he had thought. He clasped her as something 
predous he had lost and regained. He was shaken 
with a passion of remorse. How could he have be- 
lieved Fay Larkin guilty of murder? Women less 
wild and less justified than she had been driven to 
such a deed, yet how could he have beUeved it of 
her, when for two days he had been with her, had 
seen her face, and deep into her eyes? There was 
a mystery in his very blindness. He cast the whole 
thought from him for ever. There was no shadow 
between Fay and him. He had found her. He 
had saved her. She was &ee. She was innocent. 
And suddenly, ■ as he seemed deHvered from con- 
tendii^ tumults within, he became aware that it 
was no unresponsive creatiire he had folded to his 
breast, 

343 



:=o,Gooi^k"' 



AT THE FOOT OF THE RAINBOW 

He became suddenly alive to tiie warm, tbiobbing 
contact of her bosom, to her strong arms clinging 
roimd his neck, to her closed eyes, to the rapt white- 
ness of her face. And he bent to cold lips that 
seemed to receive his first kisses as new and strange; 
but tremulously changed, at last to meet his own, 
and then to burn with sweet and thrilling fire. 

"My darling, my dream's come true," he said. 
"You are my treasure. I found you here at the 
foot of the rainbowl . . . What if it is a stcme rainbow 
— if all is not as I had dreamed? I followed a gleam. 
And it's led me to love and faith I" 

Hours afterward Shefford walked alone to and fro 
under the bridge. His trouble had given place to 
serenity. But this night of nights he must Uve 
out wide-eyed to its end. 

The moon had long since crossed the streak of 
star-fired blue above and the cafion was black in 
shadow. At times a current of wind, with all the 
strangeness of that strange country in its hollow 
moan, rushed through the great stone arch. At 
other times there was silence such as Sh^ord 
imagined dwelt deep under this rocky world. At 
still other times an owl hooted, and the sound was 
nameless. But it had a mocking echo that never 
ended. An echo of night, silence, gloom, melancholy 
deatii, age, eternity! 

The Indian lay asleep with his dark face upturned, 
and the other sleepers lay calm and white in the star- 
Ught. 

SheSord saw in them the meaning of life and the 
past — the illimitable train of faces that had shone 

23 343 



,.Co,.^[c 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

under the stars. There was a sinrit in the cafirai, 
and whether or not it was what the Navajo em- 
bodied in the great Nonnezoshe, or the life ai the 
present, or the death of the ages, or the natore so 
magnificently manifested in those silent, dreaming, 
waiting walls — the truth for SheSord was that this 
spirit was God. 

Life was eternal. Man's immortality lay in him- 
self. Love of a woman was hope — ^happiness. 
Brotherhood — ^that mystic and grand "Bi Nai!" of 
the Navajo — ^that was religion. 



bf Google 



THE GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

THE night passed, the gloom turned gray, the 
dawn stole cool and paJe into the canon. 
When Nas Ta Bega drove the mustangs into camp 
the lofty ramparts of the walls were rimmed with 
gold and the dark arch of Nonnezoshe began to lose 
its stedy gj^y. 

The women had rested well and were in better 
condition to travel. Jane was cheerful and Fay 
radiant one moment and in a dream the next. She 
was beginning to live in that wonderful future. 
They talked more than usual at breakfast, and 
Lassiter made droll remarks. SheSord, with his 
great and haunting trouble ended for ever, with 
now only danger to face ahead, was a different man, 
but thoughtful and quiet. 

This morning the Indian leisurely made prepara- 
tions for the start. For all the concern he showed 
he might have known every foot of the canon below 
Nonnezoshe. But, for Shdiord, with the dawn had 
returned anxiety, a restless feeling of the need of 
hurry. What obstacles, what impassable gorges, 
might lie between this bridge and the river! The 
Indian's inscrutable serenity and Fay's trust, her 
345 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

radiance, the exquisite glow upon her face, sustained 
SheSord and gave him patience to endure and 
conceal his dread. 

At length the fli^t was resumed, with Nas Ta 
Bega leading on foot, and SheSord walldng in the 
rear. A quarter of a mile below camp the Indian 
led down a decUvity into the bottom (i the narrow 
goige, where the stream ran. He did not gaze back- 
ward for a last glance at Nonnezoshe; nor did Jane 
or Lassiter. Fay, however, checked Nack-yal at 
the rim of the descent and turned to look behind. 
Shefford contrasted her tremulous smile, her half- 
happy good-by to this place, with the white stillness 
of her face when she had bade farewell to Surprise 
Valley, Then she rode Nack-yal down into the gorge. 

Shefford knew that this would be his last look at 
the rainbow bridge. As he gazed the tip of the 
great arch lost its cold, dark stone color and began 
to shine. The sun had just arisen high enough over 
some low break in the wall to reach the bridge. 
Shefford watched. Slowly, in wondrous transforma- 
tion, the gold and blue and rose and pink and 
purple blended their hues, softly, mistily, cloudily, 
until once again the arch was a rainbow. 

Ages before life had evolved upon the earth it had 
spread its grand arch from wall to wall, black and 
mystic at night, transparent and rosy in the sunrise, 
at sunset a flaming curve limned against the heavens. 
When the race of man had passed it would, perhaps, 
stand there still. It was not for many eyes to see. 
Only by toil, sweat, endurance, blood, could any 
man ever look at Nonnezoshe. So it would always 
be alone, grand, silent, beautiful, unintelligible. 
346 



)o.^lc 



GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

Shefford bade Nonnezoshe a mute, reverent fare- 
well. Then plunging down the weathered slope of 
the gorge to the stream below, he hurried forward to 
3oin the others. They had progressed much farther 
than he imagined they would have, and this was 
owing to the fact that the floor of the gorge afforded 
easy travel. It was gravel on rock bottom, tortuous, 
but c^)en, with infrequent and shallow downward 
steps. TTie stream did not now rush and boil along 
and tumble over rock-encumbered ledges. In cor- 
ners the water collected in round, green, eddying 
pools. There were patches of grass and willows and 
mounds of moss. Shefford's surprise equaled his 
relief, for he believed that the violent descent of 
Nonnezoshe Boco had been passed. Any turn now, 
he imagined, might bring the party out upon the 
river. When he caught up with them he imparted 
this conviction, which was received with cheer. The 
hopes of all, except the Indian, seemed mounting; 
and if he ever hoped or despaired it was never man- 
ifest. 

SheSord's anticipation, however, was not soon 
realized. The fugitives traveled miles farther down 
Nonnezoshe Boco, and the only changes were that the 
walls of the lower gorge heightened and merged into 
those above and that these upper ones towered ever 
loftier. Shefford had to throw his head straight back 
to look up at the rims, and the narrow strip of sky- 
was now indeed a flowing stream of blue. 

Difficult steps were met, too, yet nothing com- 
pared to those of the upper cafion. She£cnd cal- 
culated that this day's travel had advanced several 
hours; and more than ever now he was anticipating 
347 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

the mouth of Ncamezoshe Boco. Still another hour 
went by. And then came striking changes. The 
cafion narrowed till the walls were scarcely twenty 
paces apart; the color of stone grew dark red above 
and black down low; the li^t of day became shad- 
owed, and the floor was a level, gravelly, winding 
lane, with the stream meandering slowly and dlently. 

Suddenly the Indian halted. He turned his ear 
down the cancm lane. He had heard something. 
The others grouped round him, but did not hear a 
sotuid except the soft flow of water and the heave 
of the mustangs. Then the Indian went on. Pres- 
ently he halted again. And again he listened. 
This time he threw up his head and upon his dark 
face shone a light which might have been pride. 

"Tse ko-n-tsa-igi," he s^d. 

The others could not understand, but they were 
impressed. 

"Shore he means somethin' big," drawled Lassiter. 

"Oh, what did he say?" queried Pay in eagerness. 

"Nas Ta Bega, tell us," said Shefford. "We are 
full of hope." 

"Grand Cafion," replied the Indian. 

"How do you know?" asked Shefford. 

"I hear the roar of the river." 

But She£ford, listen as he might, could not hear 
it. They travded on, winding down the wonderful 
lane. Every once in a while Shefford lagged bdiind, 
let the others pass out of hearing, and then he 
listened. At last he was rewarded. Low and deep, 
dull and strange, with some quality to incite dread, 
came a roar. Thereafter, at intervals, usually at 
turns in the cafimi, and when a f^nt stir o£ warm air 
348 



GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

fanned his cheeks, he heard the sound, growing 
clearer and louder. 

He rounded an abrupt comer to have the roar 
suddenly fill his ears, to see the lane extend straight 
to a ragged vent, and beyond that, at some distance, 
a dark, ragged, bulging wall, like iron. As he hur- 
ried forward he was surprised to find that the noise 
did not increase. Here it kept a strange uniformity 
of tone and volume. The others of the party passed 
out of the mouth of Nonnezoshe Boco in advance 
of ShefiEord, and when he reached it they were 
grouped upon a bank erf sand. A dark-red canon 
yawned before them, and through it slid the strangest 
river Shefford had ever seen. At first glance he 
imagined the strangeness consisted of the dark-red 
color of the water, but at the second he was not so 
su^. All the others, except Nas Ta Bega, eyed the 
river blankly, as if they did not know what to think. 
The roar came from round a huge bulging wall down- 
stream. Up the caflon, half a mile, at another turn, 
there was a leaping rapid of dirty red-white waves, 
and the sound of this, probably, was drowned in the 
unseen but nearer rapid. 

"This is the Grand Cafion of the Colorado," said 
Shefford. "We've come out at the mouth of Non- 
nezoshe Boco. . . . And now to wait for Joe Lake!" 

They made camp on a dry, level sand-bar tmder a 
shelving wall. Nas Ta Bega collected a pile of drift- 
wood to be used for fire, and then he took the mus- 
tangs back up the side cafon to find grass for them. 
Las^ter appeared unusually quiet, and soon passed 
from weary rest on the sand to deep slumber. Fay 
and Jane succumbed to an exhaustion that mani- 
349 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

fested itself the moment retaxation set in, and they, 
too. fell asleep. Shefford patrolled the long strip of 
sand under the wall, and watdied up the river for 
Joe Lake. The Indian returned and went aloag 
the river, climbed over the jutting, sharp slopes that 
reached into the water, and passed out <rf sight up- 
stream toward the rapid. 

Sbs&oed had a sense that the riv^ and the cafion 
were too magnificent to be compared with others. 
Still, all his emotions and sensations had been so 
wrought upon, he seemed not to have any left by 
which he mi^t judge oi what constituted the dif- 
ference. He would wait. He had a grim convicticm 
that before he was safely out of this earth-riven 
crack he would know. CHie thing, however, struck 
him, and it was that up the cafion, high over the 
lower walls, hazy and blue, stood other walls, and 
beyond and above them, dim in purple distance, 
upreared still other walls. The haze and the blue 
and the purple meant great distance, and, likewise, 
the height seemed incomparable. 

The red river attracted him most. Since this was 
the medium by which he must escape with his party, 
it was natural that it absorbed him, to the negl^ 
of the gigantic cliffs. And the more he watched the 
river, studied it, listened to it, imagined its nature, 
its power, its relentlessness, the more be dreaded it. 
As the hours of the afternoon wore away, and he 
strolled along and rested on the banks, his first im- 
pressions, and what he realized might be his truest 
ones, were gradually lost. He could not bring them 
back. The river was changing, deceitful. It worked 
upon his mind. The low, hollow roar filled his ears 
350 



GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

and seemed to mock him. Then he endeavored to 
stop thinking about it, to confine his attention to 
the gap up-stream where sooner or later he prayed 
that Joe Lake and his boat woiild appear. But, 
though he controlled his gaze, he could not his 
thought, and his strange, impondering dread of the 
river augmented. 

The afternoon waned. Nas Ta Bega came back to 
camp and said any likelihood of Joe's arrival was 
past for that day. Shefford could not get over an 
impression of strangeness — of the impossibility of 
the reality presented to his naked eyes. TTiese 
lonely fugitives in the huge-walled canon waiting for 
a boatman to come down that river! Strange and 
wild — those were the words which, inadequately at 
best, suited this country and the situations it 
produced. 

After supper he and Fay walked along the bars 
of smooth, red sand. There were a few moments 
when the distant peaks and domes and turrets were 
glorified in changing stmset hues. But the beauty 
was fleeting. Fay still showed lassitude. She was 
quiet, yet cheerfid, and the sweetness of her smile, 
her absolute trust in him, stirred and strengthened 
anew his spirit. Yet he suffered tortiu-e when he 
thought of trusting Fay's life, her soul, and her 
beauty to this strange red river. 

Night brought him rehef. He could not see the 
river; only the low roar made its presence known out 
there in the shadows. And, there being no need to 
stay awake, he dropped at once into heavy slumber. 
He was roused by hands drawing at him. Nas Ta 
Bega bent over him. It was broad daylight. The 
351 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

jrellow wall high above was glistening. A fire was 
crackling and pleasant odors were wafted to him. 
Fay and Jane and Lassiter sat around the tarpaulin 
at breakfast. After the meal suspense and strain 
were manifested in all the fugitives, even the im- 
perturbable Indian being more than usually watch- 
ful. His eyes scarcely ever left the black gap where 
the river slid rotmd the turn above. Soon, as on the 
preceding day, he disappeared up the ragged, iron- 
bound shore. There was scarcely an attempt at 
conversation. A controlling thought bound that 
group into silence — ^if Joe Lake was ever going to 
come he would come to-day. 

Shefford asked himself a hundred times if it were 
possible, and his answer seemed to be in the low, 
sullen, muffled roar of the river. And as the morn- 
ing wore on toward noon his dread deepened until all 
chance appeared hopeless. Already he had begun 
to have vague and unformed and disquieting ideas 
of the only avenue of escape left — to return up 
Nonnezoshe Boco — and that would be to enter a 
trap. 

Suddenly a piercing cry pealed down the canon. 
It was fcdlowed by et^oes, weird and strange, that 
clapped from wall to wall in mocking concatenaticm. 
Nas Ta Bega appeared high on the ragged slope. 
The cry had been the Indian's. He swept an arm 
out, pointing up-stream, and stood like a statue on 
the iron rocks. 

SheSord's keen gaze sighted a moving something 
in the bend of the river. It was long, low, dark, and 
flat, with a lighter object upright in the middle. A 
boat and a man I ' 

3Sa 

Djizc^inGoo^lc 



GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

"Joe! It's Joe!" yelled Shefford, madly. "There! 
. . . Look!" 

Jane and Fay were on their knees in the sand, 
dasfnng each other, pale faces toward that bend in 
the river. 

Shefford ran up the shore toward the Indian. He 
climbed the jutting slant of rock. The boat was now 
full in the turn — it moved faster — it was nearing the 
smooth incline above the rapid. There! it glided 
down — Sheaved darkly up — settled back — and dis- 
apjJeared in the frothy, muddy roughness of water. 
Shefford held his breath and watched. A dark, 
bobbing object showed, vanished, showed again to 
enlarge — to take the shape of a big flatboat — and 
then it rode the swift, choppy current out of the 
lower end of the rapid. 

Nas Ta Bega began to make violent motions, and 
Shefford, taking his cue, frantically waved his red 
scarf. There was a five-mile-an-hour current right 
before them, and Joe must needs see them so that 
he might sheer the huge and cliunsy craft into the 
shore before it drifted too far down. 

Presently Joe did see them. He appeared to be 
half -naked; he raised alcrft both arms, and bellowed 
down the canon. The edhoes boomed from wall to 
wall, every one stronger with the deep, hoarse 
triumph in the Mormon's voice, till they passed on, 
growing weaker, to die away in the roar of the river 
below. Then Joe bent to a long oar that appeared to 
be fastened to the stem of the boat, and the craft 
drifted out of the swifter current toward the shore. 
It reached a point opposite to where Sh^ord and 
the Indian waited, and, though Joe made prodigious 
3S3 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

eScnts, it slid oa. Still, it also drifted shoreward, 
and half-way down to the mouth of Nonnezoshe Boco 
Joe threw the end of a rope to the Indian, 

"Ho! Ho!" yelled the Mormon, again setting 
into motion the fiendish echoes. He was nal^d to 
the waist; he had lost flesh; he was haggard, worn, 
dirty, wet. While he pulled on a shirt Nas Ta Bega 
made the rope fast to a snag of a log of driftwood 
embedded ta the sand, and the boat swung to shore. 
It was perhaps thirty feet long by half as many wide, 
crudely built of rou^-hewn boards. The steering- 
gear was a long pole with a plank nailed to the end. 
The craft was empty save for another pole and plank, 
Joe's coat, and a broken-handled shovel. There 
were water and sand on the flooring. 

Joe stepped ashore and he was gripped first by 
Shefford and then by the Indian. He was an un- 
kempt and gaunt giant, yet how steadfast and re- 
liable, how grimly strong to inspire hope! 

"Reckon most of me's here," he said in reply to 
greetings. "I've had water aplenty. My God! 
I've had waier!" He rolled out a grim laugh. 
"But no grub for three' days. . . . Forgot to fetch 
some!" 

How practical he was! He told Fay she looked 
good for sore eyes, but he needed a biscuit most of 
all. There was just a second of singular hesitation 
when he faced Lassiter, and then the big, strong hand 
of the young Mormon went out to meet the old gun- 
man's. While they fed him and he ate like a starved 
man Shefford told of the flight from the village, the 
rescuing of Jane and Lassiter from Surprise Valley, 
the descent &om the plateau, the catastrophe to 
354 



GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

Shadd's gang — and, concluding, Shefford, without 
any e^Ianation, told that Nas Ta Bega had killed 
the Mormon Wagoner. 

"Reckon I had that figured," replied Joe. "First 
off I didn't think so. ... So Shadd went over the 
cliff. That's good riddance. It beats me, though. 
Never knew that Piute's like with a horse. And he 
had some grand horses in his outfit. Pity about 
them." 

Later when Joe had a moment alone with Shefford 
he explained that during his ride to Kayenta he had 
realized Fay's innocence and who had been respon- 
sible for the tragedy. He took Withers, the trader, 
into his confidence, and they planned a story, which • 
Withers was to carry to Stcmebridge, that would 
exculpate Fay and Siefford of anything more serious 
than flight. If Shefford got Fay safely out of the 
country at once that would end the matter for all 
concerned. 

"Reckon I'm some ferry-boatman, too — a jairy 
boatman. Haw! Haw!" he added. "And we're 
going through. . . . Now I want you to help me rig 
this tarpaulin up over the bow of the boat. If we 
can fix it up strong it '11 keep the waves from curling 
over. They filled her four times for me." 

They folded the tarpaulin three times, and with 
stout pieces of split plank and horseshoe nails from 
Shefford's saddle-bags and pieces of rope they rigged 
up a screen around bow and front comers. 

Nas Ta Bega put the saddles in the boat. The 

mustangs were far up Nonnezoshe Boco and would 

work their way back to green and luxuriant canons. 

The Indian said they would soon become wild and 

355 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

would never be found. Shefford re^tted Nacfc-yal, 
but was glad the faithful little mustang would be free 
in one of those beautiful cafions. 

"Reckon we'd better be off," called Joe. "All 
aboard!" He placed Pay and Jane in a comer of 
the bow, where they would be spared sight of the 
rapids. Shefford loosed the rope and sprang aboard. 
"Pard," said Joe, "it's one hell of a river 1 And now 
with the snow melting up in the mountains it's 
twenty feet above nonnal and rising fast. But that's 
well for us. It covers the stones in the rapids. If 
it hadn't been in flood Joe would be an angel now!" 

The boat cleared the sand, lazily wheeled m the 
eddying water, and suddenly seemed caught by some 
powerful gliding force. When it swept out beyond 
the jutting wall Shefford saw a quarter of a mile of 
sliding water that appeared to end abruptly. Be- 
yond lengthened out the gigantic gap between the 
black and frowning cliffs. 

"Wowl" ejaculated Joe. "Drops out of sight 
there. But that one ain't much. I can tell by the 
roar. When you see my hair stand up straight — 
then watch out ! . . . Lassiter, you look after the 
women. Shefford, you stand ready to bail out with 
the shovd, for we'll sure ship water. Nas Ta Bega, 
you help here with the oar.'* - 

The roar became a heavy, continuous rumble; the 
current quickened; Httle streaks and ridges seemed 
to race along the boat; strange gurglings rose from 
under the bow. Shefford stood cm tiptoe to see tiie 
break in the river below. Swiftly it came into 
sight — a wonderful, long, smooth, red slant of water, 
a swelling mound, a huge back-curHng wave, another 
356 



GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

and another, a sea of frothy, uplifting crests, leaping 
and tumbling and diminishing down to the narrowing 
apex of the rapid. It was a frightful sight, yet it 
thrilled Shefford. Joe worked the steering-oar back 
and forth and headed the boat straight for the 
middle of the incline. The boat reached the round 
rim, gracefully dipped with a heavy sop, and went 
shooting down. The wind blew wet in Shefford's 
face. He stood erect, thrilling, fascinated, fri^t- 
ened. Then he seemed to feel himself lifted; the 
curling wave leaped at the boat ; there was a shock 
that laid him flat ; and when he rose to his knees all 
about him was roar and spray and leaping, muddy 
waves. Shock after shock jarred the boat. Splashes 
of water sttmg his face. And then the jar and the 
motion, the confusion and roar, gradually lessened 
until presently Shefford rose, to see smooth water 
ahead and the long, trembling rapid behind. 

"Get busy, bailer," yelled Joe. "Pretty soon 
you'll be glad you have to bail — so you can't see!" 

There were several inches of water in the bottom 
of the boat and Shefford learned for the first time the 
ra:pediency of a shovel in the art of bailing. 

"That tarpaulin worked powerful good," went 
on Joe. "And it saves the women. Now if it just 
don't bust on a big wave ! That one back there was 
little." 

When Shefford had scooped out all the water he 
went forward to see how Fay and Jane and Lassiter 
had fared. The women were pale, but composed. 
They had covered their heads. 

"But the dreadful roar!" exclaimed Fay. 

Lassiter looked shaken for once. 
357 

Dj., ,i„Goo^lc 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"Shore I'd rather taken a chance meetin' them 
Mormons on the way out," he said. 

Shefford spolK with an encouraging assurance 
which he did not himsdf feel. Ahnost at the mo- 
ment he marked a ^ence that had fallen into the 
cafion; then it broke to a low, dull, strange roar. 

"Ahal Hear that?" The Mormon shook his 
shaggy head. "Reckon we're in Cataract Caficm. 
We'll be standing tm end from now on. Hang cm to 
her, b<^!" 

Danger of this unusual kind had brought out a 
peculiar levity in the somber Mormon — a kind <rf 
wild, gay excitement. His eyes rolled as he watched 
the river ahead and he puffed out his cheek with his 
tongue. 

The rugged, overhan^i^ walls of the cafion grew 
anister in Shefford's sight. They were jaws. And 
the river — that made him shtidder to look down into 
it. The little whirling pits were eyes peering into 
his, and they raced on with the boat, disappeared, and 
came again, always with the little, hollow gurgles. 

The craft drifted swiftly and the roar increased. 
Another rapid seemed to move up into view. It 
came at a bend in the caSon. When the breeze 
struck Shefford's cheeks he did not this time ex- 
perience exhilaration. The current accelerated its 
sliding motion and bore the flatboat straight for the 
middle ci the curve. SheSord saw the bend, a long, 
dark, narrow, gloomy cafion, and a stretch of con- 
tending waters, then, crouching low, he waited for 
the dip, the race, the shock. They came — the last 
stopping the boat — throwing it aloft — ^letting it 
drop — and crests of angry waves curled over the 
358 



,o.^[c 



GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

dde. Shefford, kneeling, felt the water slap around 
him, and in his ears was a deafening roar. There 
were endless moments of strife and hell and flying 
darkness oi spray all about him. and imder )vm the 
Toddng boat. When they lessened — ceased in vio- 
lence — ^he stood anJde-deep in water, and then madly 
he began to bail. 

Another roar deadened his ears, but he did not 
look up from his toil. And when he had to get down 
to avoid the pitch he closed his eyes. That rapid 
passed and with more water to bail, he resumed his 
siiaie in the manning of the crude craft. It was 
more than a share — a tremendous responsibility to 
which he bent with all his might. He heard Joe 
yell — and again — and again. He heard the in- 
creaai^ roars one after another till they seemed one 
continuous bellow. He felt the shock, the pitch, 
the beating waves, and then the lessening power of 
sound Etnd current. That set him to his task. 
Always in these long intervals al toil he seemed to 
see, without looking up, the growing proportions of 
the cafion. And the river had beccnne a livii^ 
terrible thing. The intervals c£ his tireless eSort 
■Tihea he scoc^ied the water overboard were fleeting, 
and the rides through rapid after rapid were endless 
periods cME waiting terror. His ^>irit and his hope 
were overwhelmed by the rush and roar and fury. 

Then, as he worked, there came a change — a rest 
to deafened ears — a stretch of river that seemed 
quiet after chaos— and here for the first time he 
bailed the boat clear of water. 

Jane and Fay were huddled in a cconer, with the 
flapping tarpaulin now half fallen over them. They 

24 359 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

were wet and muddy. Lassiter crouched like a man 
dazed by a bad dream, and his white hair hung, 
stained and bedrag^ed, over his face. The Indian 
and the Mormon, grim, hard, worn, stood silent at 
the oar. 

The afternoon was far advanced and the sun had 
tHieady descended below the western ramparts. 
A coed breeze blew up the caAon, laden with a sound 
that was the same, yet not the same, as those low, 
dull roars which Shefford dreaded more and more. 

Joe Lake turned his ear to the breeze. A stronger 
puff brought a heavy, quivering rumble. This time 
he did not vent his gay and wild defiance to the river. 
He bent lower — Glistened. Then as the rumble be- 
came a strange, deep, reverberating roll, as if the 
monstrous river were rolling huge stones down a 
subterranean cafLon, Shefford saw with dilating 
eyes that the Mormon's hair was riang stiff upon 
his head. 

"Hear that!" said Joe, turning an ashen face to 
Shefford. "We'll drop off the earth now. Hang on 
to the girl, so if we go you can go together. . . . And, 
pard, if you've a God — pray!" 

Nas Ta Bega faced the bend frcMn whence liiat 
rumble came, and he was the same dark, inscrutatide, 
impassive Indian as of old. What was death to him ? 

Shefford felt the strong, rushing love of life surge 
in him, and it was not for himself he thought, but 
for Pay and the happiness she merited. He went to 
her, patted the covered head, and tried with words 
chcddng in his throat to ^ve hope. And he leaned 
with hands gripping the gunwale, with eyes wide 
open, ready for the unknown. 
360 

Dj ., ,„Goo^lc 



GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

The river made a quic^ ttim and from rotmd the 
bend rumbled a terrible uproar. The current racing 
that way was divided or uncertain, and it gave 
strange motion to the boat. Joe and Nas Ta Bega 
shoved desperately upon the oar, all to no purpose. 
The currents had their will. The bow of the boat 
took the place of the stem. Then swift at the head 
of a curved incline it shot beyond the bulging wall. 

And Shefford saw an awful place before them. 
The cafion had narrowed to half its width, and 
turned almost at right angles. The huge clamor of 
appalling sound came from under the cliff where the 
swollen river had to pass and where there was not 
space. The rapid rushed in gigantic swells right 
upon the wall, boomed against it, climbed and 
spread and fell away, to recede and gather new 
impetus, to leap madly on down the cafion. 

Shefford went to his knees, clasped Pay, and Jane, 
too. But facing this appalling thing he had to look. 
Courage and despair came to him at the lasti This 
must be the end. With loi^, buoyant swing die 
boat sailed down, shot over the first waves, was 
caught and lifted upon the great swell and impelled 
straight toward the diff. Huge whirlpools raced 
alongsif^e, and from them came a horrible, engulfing 
roar. Mcmstrous bulges rose on the other side. 
All the stupendous power of that mighty river of 
downward-rushing salt swung the boat aloft, up and 
up, as the swell climbed the wall. Shefford, with 
transfixed eyes and harrowed soul, watched the wet 
black wall. It loomed down upon him. The stem 
of the boat went high. Then when the crash that 
meant doom seemed imminent the swell spread and 
361 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

fell bade from tiie wall and tiie boat never struck 
at all. By some miraculous chance it had been 
favored by a strange and momentary receding of 
the huge spent swell. Then it slid back, was caught 
and whirled by the current into a red, frothy, up- 
flui^ ra^nds below. Shefiord bowed his head over 
Fay and saw no mOre, nor felt nor heard. What 
seemed a long time after that the broken voice c^ the 
Mormon recalled him to his labors. 

The boat was half full of water. Nas Ta Bega 
scooped out great sheets of it with his hands. Shef- 
ford sprang to ud him, found the shovel, and 
plunged into the task. Slowly but surely they 
emptied the boat. And then SheSord saw that 
twili^t had fallen. Joe was working the craft 
toward a narrow bank of sand, to which, presently, 
they came, and the Indian sprang out to moor to a 
rock. ^ 

The fugitives went ashore and, weary and alent 
and drenched, they dropped in the warm sand. 

But SheSonl could not sleep. The river kept him 
awake. In the distance it nunbled, low, deep, re- 
verberating, and Hear at hand it was a thing ai 
mutable mood. It moaned, whined, mocked, and 
laughed. It had the soul of a devil. It was a 
river that had cut its way to the bowels of the earth, 
and its nature was destructive. It harbcved no life. 
Fighting its way throu^ those dead walls, cutting 
. and tearing and wearing, its heavy burden of silt 
was death, destruction, and decay. A silent river, a 
murmuring, strange, fierce, terrible, thundering 
Viver of the deserti Even in the dark it seemed to 
wear the hue of blood. 

363 



GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

All night long Sh^ord heard it, and toward the 
dark hours before dawn, when a restless, broken 
sleep came to him, his dreams were dreams d a river 
of sounds. 

All the beautiful sounds he knew and loved he 
heard — the si^ d the wind in the pines, the mourn 
of the wolf, the cry of the laughing-gull, the murmur 
of running brooks, the song of a child, the whisper c^ 
a woman. And there were the boom of the surf, the 
roar of the north wind in the forest, the roll of 
thunder. And there were the sounds not of earth — a 
river of the universe rolling the planets, enguMng 
the stars, pouring the sea of blue into infinite 
space. 

Ni^t with its fitful dreams passed. Dawn lifted 
the ebony gloom out of the cation and sunlight far 
up on the ramparts renewed Shefford's spirit. He 
rose and awoke the others. Fay's wistful smile still 
held its faith. They ate of the gritty, water-soaked 
food. Then they embarked. The current carried 
them swiftly down and out of hearing of the last 
rapid. The character of the river and the cailon 
chained. The current lessened to a slow, smooth, 
silent, eddying flow. The walls grew straight, sheer, 
gloomy, and vast. SheSord noted these features, 
but he was listening so hard for the roar of the next 
rapid that he scarcely appreciated them. All the 
fi^tives were listening. Every bend in the cailon 
— and now the turns were ntimerous — might hold a 
rapid. SheSord strained his ears. He imagined 
the low, dull, strange rumble. He had it in his ears, 
yet there was the growing sensation of silence. 

"Shore this 's a dead place," muttered Lassiter. 
363 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"She's only slowed t^ £(»' a bi^er i^iii^e," replied 
Joe. "Listen! Hear that?" 

But there was no true sotmd. , Joe only imi^ned 
what he expected and hated and dreaded to hear. 

Mile after mile they drifted through the ^knt 
gloom between those vast and m^oificent walls. 
After the speed, the tmincnl, the whirling, sbrieldi^, 
thundering, the never-ceasing sound and change and 
tnotion of the rapids above, this slow, quiet drifting, 
this utter, absolute silence, these eddying stretches 
of still water below, worked strai^ely upon Shefford's 
mind and he feared he was going mad. 

There was no change to the alence, no help ft^ 
tiic slow drift, no lessening of the strain. And the 
hours of the day passed as moments, the sun crossed 
the blue gap above, the golden Hghts hung oa the 
upper walls, the g^oom returned, and still there was 
only the dead. vast, insupportable aletice. 

There came bends where the current quickened, 
ripples widened, long lanes of httle waves roughened 
tiie surface, but they made no sound. 

And then the fugitives turned throu^ a V-shaped 
vent in the cafion. The ponderous walls sheered 
away from the river. There was space and sun- 
shine, and far beyond ttus league-wide open rose 
vermilion-colored diffs. A naile below the river dis- 
appeared in a dark, boxlike passage from wbidi 
came a rumble that made SheSord's flesh creep. 

The Mbrmcm flung high his arms and let out the 
stentOTian yell that had rolled down to the fugitives 
as they waited at the mouth of Nonnezoshe Booo. 
But now it had a wilder, more exultant note. Strange 
how he shifted his gaze to Pay Larkin! 
364 

...., „Cooglc 



GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

"Girl! Get up and look!" he called. "The 
Feny! The Fenyl" 

Then he bent his brawny back over the steaing- 
oar, and the clumsy craft slowly turned toward the 
left-hand shore, where a long, low bank of green 
willows and cottcmwoods gave welcome relief to the 
eyes. Upon the opposite side of the river Shefford 
saw a boat, similar to the one he was in, moored to 
the bank. 

"Shore, if I ain't losin' my eyes, I seen an Injun 
with a red blanket," said Lassiter. 

"Yes, Lassiter," cried SheflEord. "Look, Fay! 
Look, Janel See! Indians — hogans — mustangs — 
there above the green bank!" 

The boat glided slowly shoreward. And the 
deep, hungry, terrible rumble of the remorseless 
river became something no more to dread. 



DigliMbvGoO^lc 



WILLOW SPRINGS 

TWO days' travel from the river, along the saw- 
toothed range of Echo Cliffs, stood Presbrey's 
tradiE^-post, a little red-stone square house in a 
green and pretty valley called Willow Springs. 

It was nearing the time of sunset — that gorgeous 
hour of color in the Painted Desert — ^when Shefford 
and his party rode down upon the post. 

The scene ladled the wildness characteristic of 
Kayenta or Red Lake. Tha% were w^;ons and 
teams, white men and Indians, burros, sheep. Iambs, 
mustangs saddled and unsaddled, dogs, and chick^is. 
A young, sweet-faced woman stood in the door of 
the post and she it was who first sighted the fugitives. 
Presbrey was weighing bags of wool on a scale, and 
when she called he lazily turned, as if to wonder at 
her eagerness. 

Then he flung up his head, with its ^ock of heavy 
hair, in a start of surprise, and his florid face lost 
its lazy indolence to becmne wreathed in a huge 
smile. 

"Haven't seen a white perscm in six months!" 
was his extraordinary greeting. 

An hour later Shefford, clean-shaven, comfortably 
366 



WILLOW SPRINGS 

clothed once more, found himsdf a different man; 
and whea he saw Fay in white again, with a new and 
indefinable light shining throu^ that old, haunting 
shadow in her eyes, then the world chained and be 
embraced perfect happiness. 

lliere was a dinner such as Shefford had not seen 
t(x many a day, and such as Pay had never seen, and 
that brought to Jane Withersteen's eyes the dreamy 
niemory of the bountiful feasts which, long years ago, 
had b^ her pride. And there was a sttxy told to 
the curious trader and his kind wife— a stoiy with 
its beginning back in those past years, of riders of 
the purple sa^e, of Fay Larkin as a child and then 
as a wild girl in Surprise Valley, of liie flight down 
Nonnezoshe Boco and the cafion, of a great Mormon 
and a noble Indian. 

Presbrey stared with his deep-set eyes and wa^;ed 
his tousl^ head and stared a^in; then with the 
quick perception of the practical desert man he 
said: 

"I'm sending teamsters in to Flagstaff to-morrow. 
Wife and I will go along with you. We've light 
wagons. Three days, maybe — or four^-and we'll 
be there. . . . Shefford, I'm gcong to see you marry 
Fay Larkin 1" 

Fay and Jane and Las^ter showed strangdy 
against this background of approaching civilization. 
And Shefford realized more than ever the loneliness 
and isolation and wildness of so many years for 
them. 

When the women had retired Shefford and the 
men talked awhile. Then Joe Lake rose to stretch 
his big frame. 

367 

.:„..„ Cookie, 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

"Friends, reckon I'm all in," he said. "Good 
night." In passing he laid a heavy hand on Shefford's 
shoulder. "Well, you got out. I've only a queer 
noticm how. But Some One besides an Indian and a 
Mormon guided you outi ... Be good to the girl. . . . 
Good-by, pardi" 

SheSord grasped the big hand and in the emotion 
of the moment did not catch the significance of 
Joe's last words. 

Later Shefford stepped outside into the starlight 
for a few moments* quiet walk and thought before he 
went to bed. It was a white ni^t. The coyotes 
were yelping. The stars shone steadfast, bright, 
cold. Nas Ta Bega stalked out of the shadow of the 
house and joined Shefford. They walked in silence. 
Sheffcmi's heart was too full for utterance and the 
Indian seldom spdce at any time. When SheSord 
was ready to go in Nas Ta Bega extended his 
hand. 

"Good-by — ^Bi Nait" he said, strangely, using 
English and Navajo in what ShefEord supposed to be 
merely good night. The starlight shone full upon 
the dark, inscrutable face of the Indian. SheSord 
bade' him good night and then watched him stride 
away in t^ silver gloom. 

But next morning ShefEord understood. Nas Ta 
Bega and Joe I.ake were gone. It was a shock to 
ShefEord. Yet what could he have said to either? 
Joe had shirked saying good-by to him and Fay. 
And the Indian had gone out of SheSord's life as he 
had ccmie into it. 

What these two men represented in Shefford's 
uplift was too great for the present to define, but 



WILLOW SPRINGS 

thejr and the desert that had developed them had 
taught him the meaning of life. He might fail ctften, 
since failure was the lot of his kind, but could he ever , 
fail again in faith in man or God while he had mind 
to remember the Indian and the Mormon? 

Still, though he placed them on a noble hd^t and 
loved them well, there would always abide with 
him a sorrow for the Mormon and a sleepless and 
eternal regret for that Indian on his lonely cedar 
slope with the spirits of his vanishing race calling 
him. 

Willow Springs appeared to be a lively place that 
morning. Presbrey was gay and his sweet-faced wife 
was excited. The teamsters were a jolly, whistling 
lot. And the lean mustangs kicked and bit at one an- 
other. The trader had brought out two light wagons 
for the trip, and, after the maimer of desert men, 
desired to start at sunrise. 

Far across the Painted Desert towered the San 
Francisco peaks, black-timbered, blue-cafioned, pur- 
ple-hazed, with white snow, like tiie clouds, around 
their summits. 

Jane Withersteen looked at the radiant Fay and 
lived ^ain in her happiness. And at last excite- 
ment had been communicated to the old gun-man. 

"ShOTe we're goin' to Uve with Fay an' John, an* 
be near Venters an' Bess, an' see the blacks again, 
Jane. . . . An' Venters will tell you, as he did me, how 
Wrangle run Black Star off h^ legsl" 

All connected with that eariy start was sweet, sad, 
hopeful. 

And so they rode away from Willow Springs, 
369 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

throns^ the green fields of alfalfa and cottonwood, 
down the valley with its smokii^ hogans and idiis- 
tling tnustai^ and scarlet-blanketed TtiHihtiji , and 
out \xpoa the bare, ridgy, odorful desert toward the 
rosy sunrise. 



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EPILOGUE 

ON the outskirts of a little town in Illincns there 
was a farm of rolling pasture-land. And here 
a beautiful meadow, green and red in clover, merged 
upon an orchard in the midst of which a brown-tiled 
roof showed above the trees. 

One afternoon in May a group of people, strangely 
agitated, walked down a shady lane toward the 



"Wal, Jane, I always knew we'd ^t a look at 
them bosses again — I shore knew," Lassiter was say- 
ing in the same old, cool, careless drawl. But lus 
clawlike hands shook a tittle. 

"Oh! will they know me?" asked Jane Wither- 
steen, turning to a stalwart man — no other than the 
dark-faced Venters, her rider of other days. 

" Know you? I'll bet they will," replied Venters. 
"What do you say, Bess?" 

The shadow brightened in Bess's somber blue 
^es, as if his words had recalled her from a sad 
and memorable past. 

"Black Star will know her, surely," replied Bess. 
"Sometimes he points his nose toward the west and 
watches as if he saw the purple slopes and smelt the 
sage of Utah! He has never forgotten. But Night 
has grown deaf and partly blind of late. I doubt if 
he'll remember." 

371 



THE RAINBOW TRAIL 

Shefford and Pay walked aim in arm in^ the back- 
ground. 

Out in the meadow two horses were grazing. 
They were sleek, shiny, long-maned, long-tailed, 
black as coal, and, though old, still splendid in eveiy 
line. 

"Do jrou remember them?" whispered Shefford. 

"Oh, I only needed to see Black Star," murmured 
Pay, her voice quivering. "I can remember being 
lifted on his bade . . . How strange! It seems so 
long aga . . . Lodkl Mother Jane is gcang out to 
them." 

Jane Withersteen advanced alone through the 
clover, and it was with unsteady steps. Presently 
she ^halted. What glorious and bitter memories 
were expressed in her strange, poignant call ! 

Blade Star started and swept up his noble head and 
looked. But Night went on calmly grazing. Then 
Jane called again — the same strange call, only louder, 
and this time broken. Black Star raised his head 
higher and he whistled a piercing blast. He saw 
Jane; he knew her as he had remembered the caQ; 
and he came pounding toward her. She met him, 
endrded his neck with her aims, and buried her face 
in his mane. 

"Shore I redcon I'd better never say any more 
about Wrangle runnin' the blacks aS their legs tbet 
time," muttered Lassiter, as if to himself. 

"Lassiter, you cmly dreamed that race," r^Ued 
Venters, with a smile. 

"Oh, Bern, isn't it good that Blade Star remem- 
bered hei^Hhat she'll have him — something left rf 
her old home?" asked Bess, wistfully. 
37a 



EPILOGUE 

"Indeed it is good. But, Bess, Jane Withersteen 
will find a new spirit and new happiness here." 

Jane came toward them, leading both horses. 
"Dear friends, I am happy. To-day I bury all 
regrets. Of the past I sh^ remember only — my 
riders of the purple sage." 

Venters sniled his gladness. "And you — Lassiter 
— what shall you remember?" he queried. 

The old gun-man looked at Jane and then at his 
clawlike hands and then at Fay. His ^es lost 
their shadow and began to twinMe. 

"Wal, I rolled a stone once, but I reckon now thet 
time Wrangle — " 

"Lassiter, I said you dreamed that race. Wrangle 
never beat the blacks," interrupted Venters. . . . 
"And you. Fay, what shall you remember?" 

"Surprise Valley," replied Fay, dreamily. 

"And you — Shefiord?" 

SheflEord shook his head. For him there could 
never be one memory only. In his heart there 
would never change or die memories of the wild 
uplzinds, of the great towers and walls, of the golden 
sunsets on the cafion ramparts, of the silent, fragrant 
valleys where the cedars and the sago-lilies grew, of 
those starUt nights when his love and faith awoke, 
of grand and lonely Nonnezoshe, of that red, sullen, 
thundering, mysterious Colorado River, of a wonder- 
ful Indian and a noble Mormon — of all that was em- 
bodied for him in the meaning d the rainbow trail. 



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